Watching or following a child with bad intention amounts to an offence under POCSO Act

Bombay High Court: In a petition filed against proceedings pending against the petitioners under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), a Single Judge Bench comprising of A.M. Badar J., disposed of the petition, holding that the proceedings could not be quashed.

The petitioners, the mother of the victim and one, Valji Vadher, had been accused of sexually harassing the child (offence defined under Section 11 and punishable under Section 12). Perusing the FIR filed by a police officer and the statement of the victim, the Court held that though Section 11 was not invoked against the mother, there were sufficient grounds to proceed against Petitioner 2 because of the victim’s statement which alleged that the petitioner always looked at her with bad intention.

As per the definition of the offence under POCSO Act, the Court held that “if a person with sexual intent repeatedly or constantly follows or watches or contacts a child either directly or through other means, then he can be said to have committed an offence defined under Section 11 of the POCSO Act. The question whether the act was with sexual intent is a question of fact”. Therefore, the proceedings were not quashed and the petition was disposed of. [Manju Tejbal Vishwakarma v. Union Territory of Daman & Diu, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 8895, decided on 27.09.2017]

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