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Kissing & Fondling Not Unnatural Offence U/S 377 IPC: Bombay High Court Grants Bail To POCSO Accused    

[16 May 2022] Observing that kissing and touching private parts are prima facie not unnatural offences under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the Bombay High Court granted bail to a man accused of a minor boy’s sexual assault. The man had sought bail under section 439 of the CrPC. According to the FIR, the accused had touched the private parts of the victim and had kissed his lips. He was booked under sections 377, 384, 420 of the IPC and under sections 8 and 12 of the POCSO Act, 2012. Justice Anuja Prabudessai observed, “In my considered view, this would not prima facie constitute offences under section 377 (unnatural or anal sex) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).” Of the offences Section, 377 of the IPC is punishable with life imprisonment or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and is also liable to fine. The maximum imprisonment for offences under sections 8 and 12 is 5 years. Therefore, the court observed that since the applicant is in custody for almost one year, the charge is not yet framed and trial is not likely to commence in the immediate future. “Considering the above facts and circumstances, the Applicant is entitled for bail.”

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