Kissing, fondling minor boy not unnatural offense: Bombay High Court
The Bombay High Court has declared that kissing on the lips and fondling are not unnatural activities under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The court's observation came while granting bail to a man detained last year for touching a minor inappropriately. The medical examination of the kid did not substantiate his claim of sexual assault, said Justice Anuja Prabhudessai.
Why does this story matter?
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) makes carnal intercourse or any other unnatural act a penal violation, whether it involves a minor or adult. Notably, Section 377 provides a potential sentence of life imprisonment and makes bail difficult to obtain. The Bombay HC's recent order could impact more such cases in the times to come.
What are the details of the incident?
The boy's father informed authorities that his kid would steal money from their cupboard and go to the accused person's shop in a Mumbai suburb to recharge an online game. The accused allegedly kissed the youngster on the lips and groped his private parts one day. Later, the boy narrated the ordeal to his parents, following which his father filed a complaint.
POCSO Act sections entitle accused to bail: Bombay HC
While granting bail to the accused, Justice Prabhudessai remarked that a medical test of the youngster did not substantiate his claim of sexual assault. She went on to say the POCSO Act sections imposed on the accused contained a maximum penalty of five years and qualified him for bail. Prabhudessai added the element of unnatural sex was not prima facie relevant in this case.
Case registered under POCSO Act, Section 377 of IPC
Based on the father's complaint, the police last year promptly filed an FIR against the accused under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 377 of the IPC.
Case would not constitute offense under Section 377: HC
According to the victim's confession in the FIR, the accused kissed his lips and groped his private regions. "In my considered view," the judge said, "this would not prima facie constitute offense under Section 377 of the IPC." While granting bail to the accused on a personal bond of Rs. 30,000, she stated the trial in the case was unlikely to begin anytime soon.