A special POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) court has upheld that holding a minor girl’s hand to express love is not sexual abuse. The matter pertained to the year 2017, where then 28-year-old man was booked under this act for holding a hand of a 17-year-old girl in Mumbai.
POCSO Court acquitted the man nearly after four years, as it remarked that holding hands does not fall within the category of ‘sexual harassment’. In 2017, the accused had expressed his affection by holding the hand of a 17-year-old girl.
According to the special POCSO court, no proof has been found that the accused had any malafide intent. Since there was no intent to conduct any sexual offence in this case, the court concluded that the man could not be charged under this act. Further, the accused had not even pursued the victim or attempted to take her to a secluded location. In addition, no act of criminality was forced by him.
The special POCSO court found that the accused had done nothing to jeopardise the 17-year-old minor’s honour. The prosecution failed to prove that the accused had committed the charges claimed by them, according to the court. Using the ‘benefit of the doubt,’ the court acquitted the defendant.
About POCSO Act
POCSO or The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was established to protect the children against offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography. It was formed to provide a child-friendly system for trial underneath which the perpetrators could be punished.
The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. It also makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 received the President’s assent on June 19, 2012. It was notified in the Gazette of India on June 20, in the same year.
Author: Shreya Bhandari is a 3rd year Bachelors of Journalism student and currently working as an intern with MDO.
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