The Bombay High Court has ruled 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 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Justice AM Badar was hearing a writ petition filed by the victim’s mother and the accused. An FIR was registered against both of them invoking Section 11 of the POCSO Act at Daman.
The petition challenged the ongoing proceedings against them in the special court established under the POCSO Act.
Firstly, the court observed that no material on record shows any evidence against the mother of the accused.
Justice Badar noted that in the context of the present case that the victim minor girl had said in her statement recorded on February 5, 2016, that second accused Valji Vadher always used to see her with ‘bad intent’.
“In context of the instant case, it needs to be mentioned 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 court said.
Justice Badar also said the question whether the act was with sexual intent ‘is a question of fact which needs to be adjudicated on appreciation of evidence adduced by the prosecution’.
Appearing for the petitioners, Samir Vaidya argued that the said section under the Act could not have been invoked against the mother of victim. He also submitted that allegations against Valji Vadher were vague as the victim’s statement only said Vadher had a bad eye on her, hence an offence could not have been made out under Section 11.
The court observed: “Watching a female child with sexual intent comes under the mischief covered by Section 11 of the POCSO Act. Therefore, it cannot be said that there are no sufficient grounds to proceed against petitioner no.2 Valji Vadher for the offence as defined by Section 11 and made punishable under Section 12 of the POCSO Act.”
Thus, the court refused to quash the FIR against Vadher and decided to dispose of the petition.