Denial of Justice: A Paradox between Bombay High Court Judgments and POCSO Act​​

Abid Faheem and Mehreena Manzoor
Research Scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.

Volume IV, Issue I, 2021

Last couple of days of this month were a nightmare for all those children who have survived any kind of sexual violence in their life. This month witnessed several insensitive judgments in sexual assault cases by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court headed by the Justice Pushpa Ganediwala. Justice Ganediwala has handed down three acquittals under the POCSO Act, in three different cases, all within a week (Bar and Bench, 2021). Her third ruling where she ruled that direct “skin-to-skin contact’’ is necessary for sexual assault under POCSO Act (Scroll Staff, 2021) had caused the uproar and invited scathing criticism within the legal and child rights activists as well as laymen alike.

Sexual Violence against Children is a prevalent phenomenon in India and according to a study of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, every second child encounters sexual violence (Kacker et al., 2007). The NCRB data says that approximately 14 children are raped every single day in 2019 in India (National Crime Record Bureau, 2019). However, these alarming figures are still unable to shake our consciences to be serious about the problem to address it. We understand, however, that it has catastrophic life-long implications for a child’s overall development but we are living in a state of denial and ignorance, preserving patriarchal dominance and absolute authority over a child.

The present article brings forth the issue of sexual violence against children in the wake of several insensitive judgments by an institution meant to protect them. The intention is not to just highlight the severity of the issue but also to realise the readers that it is a huge crisis, a pandemic that needs immediate attention and will-power to save our children from such horrors.

Keywords – Violence, Sexual Assault, Children, Girl, POCSO Act, Bombay High Court