The Supreme Court has set aside a Bombay High Court order stating that sexual exploitation of a minor was not “sexual harassment as there was no skin-to-skin contact”. Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the order would set a dangerous precedent.
The Bombay High Court gave the controversial order on 19 January.
The High Court held that a minor’s breast without a “skin to skin contact” could not be termed as sexual abuse, as defined under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.
Justice Pushpa Ganeediwala said that an act considered sexual harassment should have “skin contact with sexual intent”. The judge stated that sexual harassment would not be defined as sexual assault.
The judge was delivering the verdict on a lower court order in which a 39-year-old man was sentenced to three years in jail.