The Bombay High Court has granted anticipatory bail to a man who was alleged for holding the hand of a 17-year-old while expressing his love to her. The Bombay High Court stated that mere holding or touching the hand without sexual intention will not amount to sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act.
Advocate Ranjeet Pawar, who was representing the 27-year-old man from Baramati has told the bench that his client had no sexual intent, he was just expressing his love to the teenager.
He said that it was a plain exhibition of feelings. Mr Pawar also submitted before the court that the sessions court had rejected the application, therefore, he had approached the Hon’ble High Court.
As per the complaint, the accused was the neighbour of the teenage girl who was a student. While she was going to her tuition, she was stopped by the accused and the accused started expressing his love to her. When she did not respond, he held her right hand and expressed his love. The girl managed to escape from there but the man warned her not to disclose this incident to anyone. He also sent threatening messages to her father’s phone from different phone numbers. After going through eight months, she decided to lodge a complaint.
The man was booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code and some sections of the POCSO Act, 2012.
The Bench comprising of Justice Bharati Dangre observes,
“Prima facie, looking at the allegations levelled in the FIR (first information report), the applicant had expressed his feeling of love towards the complainant by holding her hand on one occasion. This by itself cannot be said to be falling within the sweep of section 7 (Pocso Act), since prima facie, the ingredients of section 7 are not made out in the wake of allegations in the complaint or attempting to contact her by use of electronic communication.”
The court while allowing the bail said,
“Subject to the stipulation that the applicant will in no manner pressurize the complainant, he is entitled to be released on bail in anticipation of his arrest.”
The Hon’ble court also directed the man to not enter the area where the complainant resides till the charge sheet in the case is filed.
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