Satish Ragde Vs. The State of Maharashtra (Criminal Appeal No. 161 of 2020) - Synopsis
Team SoOLEGAL 28 Jan 2021

In this case, Satish Ragde Vs. The State of Maharashtra (Criminal Appeal No. 161 of 2020), the Bombay High Court had held that, groping a minor’s breast without skin-to-skin contact cannot be referred to as sexual harassment as described under Section 7 of  POCSO Act. The victim’s mother had registered a case under the POSCO Act, in the year 2016 and the Nagpur Session Court had sentenced the accused three years of imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. The accused had filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court for the acquittal of charges against him under the POSCO Act. The High Court was of the view that, touching a minor's breast will not be a sexual assault unless the accused removed the child's top worn or slipped his hand into the child's clothes. The Court was of the opinion that sexual harassment under POSCO Act is described as a crime, in which the act may have been done with sexual intent and includes touching the child's private parts or having the child touch the accused's private organ. The Court had also observed that sexual harassment, as provided in the provisions of POSCO Act, requires committing some other act of sexual intent requiring physical contact without penetration. The Court had stated that, this is not a case where the accused had removed the top and pressed the breast of the victim. The Court had also noted that there is no skin-to-skin contact between the victim and the accused.
The Court had held that, the act of pressing the breast of a minor 12 years of age, in the absence of any clear detail as to whether the top was discarded or whether he inserted his hand within the top and squeezed her breast, does not come under the concept of sexual harassment under the provisions of POSCO Act. However, it would definitely come under the definition of Section 354 of the IPC, which penalizes the exaggeration of a woman's modesty. 

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