By Suchitra Mohanty
NEW DELHI, Jan.27 (Reuters) – India’s highest court suspended a lower court on Wednesday
The decision to reduce the punishment for a man who groped a girl after the verdict has sparked an uproar in a country where crimes against women have become politically controversial.
Rights groups and politicians had warned that the lower court’s ruling could undermine efforts to crack down on assaults against girls and women in India, which in 2018 introduced the death penalty for rape of girls in India. less than 12 years.
The Bombay High Court last week punished the man, found guilty of pressing the breasts of a 12-year-old girl through her clothes, under a less strict penal code instead of a law of 2012 protecting children from sexual offenses, as there was no “skin to skin (contact) with sexual intent without penetration”.
A High Court judge had ordered a one-year jail term for the man instead of three years he had been ordered by another court under the 2012 law.
The Chief Justice of India, at a hearing in New Delhi, issued a notice to the state government of Maharashtra, where the incident occurred in 2016, and authorized the Attorney General to do so. appeal of the decision.
“We keep order and give notice,” Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde said.
The National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child had previously urged Maharashtra to appeal the court’s initial verdict.
The rape, torture and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi in 2013 sparked an uproar and large protests.
The attack prompted India to enact tough laws against sexual violence, including the death penalty for rape in some cases, but implementation has been poor and attacks have shown no signs of slowing down.
Four men convicted of the 2013 attack were hanged last year.
With 148,185 cases, India reported a 7.3% increase in crimes against children in 2019 compared to a year earlier, according to the most recent government data. (Written by Krishna N. Das edited by Robert Birsel)