The Bombay High Court has observed that kissing would not prima facie constitute offence under section 377 (unnatural sex) of the Indian Penal Code while granting bail to an accused of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Justice Anuja Prabhudessai, in an order on May 5, said, “The statement of the victim, as well as the First Information report prima facie, indicate that the Applicant had touched the private parts of the victim and had kissed his lips. In my considered view, this would not prima facie constitute offence under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.”
The court observation came while granting bail to Vikas Mohanlal Khelani who was booked for offences under sections 377, 384, 420 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 8 and 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. The court said that Vikas Mohanlal Khelani was in custody for almost one year and the Charge is not yet framed and the trial is not likely to commence in the immediate future.
“Considering the above facts and circumstances, the Applicant (Vikas Mohanlal Khelani is entitled for bail,” the court said and imposed various conditions including the furnishing of bonds in the sum of Rs 30,000 with one or two solvent sureties in then like amount. The other conditions include that applicant Vikas shall report to Oshiwara Police Station once in two months on every first Monday between 11 am to 2 pm until further orders.
Besides these, the court directed him not to interfere with the complainant and the other witnesses and shall not tamper with the evidence or attempt to influence or contact the complainant, witnesses, or any person concerned with the case; keep the Trial Court informed of his current address and mobile contact number and/or change of residence or mobile details, if any, from time to time. The court also directed Vikas to co-operate with the conduct of the trial and attend the trial Court on all dates, unless exempted.
The crime was registered against Vikas pursuant to the First Information Report (FIR) lodged by the father of the victim. The complainant has alleged that on April 17, 2021, they found that some money from the cupboard was missing. Upon inquiry, they came to know that the victim used to play an online game and that he had paid the money to the applicant herein to recharge the said gaming App. The victim also told his parents that the applicant had allegedly sexually abused him.