Del HC | Doing of act with ‘sexual intent’ is precondition to attract punishment for sexual harassment under S.12 of POCSO Act

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. dismissed a petition filed by the State against the order of the trial court whereby the accused was discharged of the offence punishable under Section 12 (punishable for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).

The subject FIR was registered on the complaint of the prosecutrix alleging that the accused was her first cousin and they were also friends. It was alleged that they used to talk over the phone and accused recorded some conversation with her, because of which she stopped to him. Further, that on the date of the incident, when the prosecutrix was coming back from school he stopped her mid-way and held her hand and misbehaved with her and asked her as to why she was not talking to him and threatened her and made her sit on his scooty and took her to Rakabganj Gurudwara. Pursuant to this incident, FIR was registered.

The trial court, in the impugned order, while framing charge against the accused under various sections of the Penal Code, discharged him of the offence under Section 12 of the POCSO Act. Trial Court was of the view that the only allegation against the accused was that he had caught hold of the hand of the victim and forcibly took her to Gurudwara on his scooty.

Meenakshi Dahiya, APP for the State, challenged the order of discharge. Per contra, Rakesh Pal Singh, Advocate for the accused, opposed the petition.

The High Court noted that perusal of the record as also the statement was given by the prosecutrix does not prima facie show that any act was done by the accused with any sexual intent. The allegations against the accused, who was the first cousin of the victim, showed that he was upset with the victim not talking to him. The Court observed, “The substantive offence (Section 11) for which punishment is prescribed under Section 12 POCSO, clearly indicates that the precondition for the section to be attracted is that an act, as enumerated therein, is done with sexual intent. Clearly in the subject case, from the allegations against the respondent, no such intention even prima facie is coming forward.”

In such view of the matter, it was held that there was no infirmity in the impugned order. The petition was, therefore, dismissed. [State (NCT of Delhi) v. Baljeet Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 9109, decided on 11-07-2019]

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