SC Quashes Bombay HC's 'Skin-to-Skin' Order

Public Lokpal
November 18, 2021

SC Quashes Bombay HC's 'Skin-to-Skin' Order

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the Bombay High Court’s verdict which had held that no offence of sexual assault under the POCSO Act is made out if there is no direct skin-to-skin’ contact between accused and the victim.

A Bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi held that the ingredient of the offence of ‘sexual assault’ under POCSO is sexual intent and skin to skin contact in such incidents is not relevant.

The law has to be given an interpretation that gives effect to the intention of legislature instead of defeating it, the Court underscored. “The most important ingredient for constituting the offence of sexual assault is sexual intent and not skin to skin contact with the child. Construction of a rule should give effect to rule rather than destroying it. The intention of legislature cannot be given effect to unless wider interpretation is given," the Court said.

Mandating “skin to skin" contact would amount to a narrow and absurd interpretation, the court added.