Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: In an application filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, seeking bail in a case registered for offence punishable under Section 363 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’), a Single Judge Bench of Swarna Kanta Sharma, J., dismissed the same and stated that in today’s virtual world, it is crucial to extend education regarding the concept of ‘virtual touch’ apart from ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’.


On 30-05-2021, a First Information Report (FIR) was lodged by the complainant stating that her 16-year-old daughter had been missing. Thereafter, on 23-07-2021, the mother along with the victim visited the police station stating that she was found in Madhya Pradesh at the residence of the co-accused in this case.

It was stated that the accused, whom the victim had met through social media, had mixed an intoxicating substance in her beverage, and abducted her. The victim also stated that upon gaining consciousness, she found herself in Madhya Pradesh where she had been confined in a room by the co-accused for 20-25 days. She further stated that she had been subjected to sexual assault and her personal belongings were withheld by the co-accused.

The victim alleged that petitioner-the mother of the co-accused had abetted the offence and that upon an attempt to escape from the custody of the accused, she was caught by the applicant who physically assaulted and confined her. Further, the applicant along with the co-accused had compelled the victim to marry the co-accused, a 45-year-old man, who had sexually assaulted the victim both before and after the marriage. The accused persons used to bring various males when the victim was confined, and she was asked to present herself to them for sexual gratification.

The charge sheet was filed for offences under Sections 363, 365, 372, 376(2)(n), 344, 346, and 34 of the IPC and Sections 6 and 17 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POCSO Act’).

Analysis and Decision:

The Court noted that the co-accused used the ID card and school documents of the victim to show it to different people for prostitution. The Court further noted that the allegations levelled by the victim in her statement were grave and that petitioner was directly involved in the commission of the offence and that she helped the main accused in commission of the offence of sexual assault and forcing the victim for prostitution and confining her to a room.

Further, the Court stated that this case of a 16-year-old being kidnapped and sexually assaulted took an even darker turn when she was coerced into marriage with a 45-year-old man against her will, in exchange for money.

The Court said that in today’s virtual modern world where virtual space has also become a priding ground for alleged virtual affections between teenagers, the teenagers are not equipped to deal with the potential dangers of human trafficking for prostitution and other sides of crime that exist in the virtual world.

Further, the Court said that this case also falls into the category of cases where criminals have used cyberspace to target innocent unsuspecting victims for their nefarious activities and purposes.

The Court stated that efforts were focused on teaching children about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ in the physical realm but keeping in mind today’s virtual world, it is crucial to teach the children about ‘virtual touch’ as well which would involve teaching them about appropriate online behavior, recognizing warning signs of predatory behavior, and understanding the importance of privacy settings and online boundaries. Further, the Court said that efforts must be made to develop children’s critical thinking skills to assess the credibility of online contacts and safeguard their personal information. Also, minors must be equipped with the knowledge and tools to navigate online interactions safely and recognize potential risks lurking in cyberspace.

Further, the Court stated that parents, guardians, and educators play a crucial role in fostering digital literacy and promoting responsible online conduct among minors. The adults can empower children to make informed decisions and stay protected from online threats by providing guidance on digital space.

While rejecting the bail application, the Court stated that the need of the hour is to send a message through this judgment to schools, colleges, Delhi State Legal Services Authority as well as Delhi Judicial Academy to hold programs, workshops, and conferences that focus not only on the traditional concept of ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ but also on the emerging concept of ‘virtual touch’ and its potential dangers.

[Kamlesh Devi v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2024 SCC OnLine Del 3306, Decided on 06-05-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner — Advocate Amit Prasad, Advocate Rajeev Ranjan, Advocate Rishikesh Kumar, Advocate Ayodhya Prasad, Advocate Arpit Tripathi, Advocate Chanya Jaitley, Advocate Niaz Baldawala, Advocate Kavya Agarwal

For Respondent — APP Manoj Pant, Advocate Saurabh Das, Advocate Paramveer, Advocate Lalit Kumar, Advocate Ashok Kumar Shukla

Buy Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973  HERE

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Buy Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012   HERE

protection of children from sexual offences act, 2012

Buy Penal Code, 1860   HERE

penal code, 1860

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