Actors Taapsee Pannu and Riteish Deshmukh, among others, have reacted to the Bombay High Court's January 19 judgement that there must be "skin to skin contact with sexual intent" for an act to be considered sexual assault.
Taapsee, Ritesh, Shibani Dandekar and others expressed their disbelief at the judgement, the full details of which were made available over the weekend.
"I tried for long but m still left with no words to describe how I feel after reading this," Taapsee wrote in a tweet, reacting to a news story about the development. "Got it now. Happy #NationalGirlChildDay2021," she wrote in a follow-up tweet.
"This is just f*****d. I'm fed up," wrote Shibani in an Instagram Story. "Passed by a woman," she added. "Feel broken." Shibani was referring to Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, who passed the verdict.
The verdict said that mere groping will not fall under the definition of sexual assault. Justice Ganediwala modified the order of a sessions court, which had sentenced a 39-year-old man to three years of imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.
"That's an unreal assessment," wrote photographer Atul Kasbekar in a tweet. "Pls tell me this is Fake news !!!" Ritesh wrote. Television personality Raghu Ram wrote, "The day of this ruling should be celebrated annually as 'Eve-Teasers' Day'."
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act defines sexual assault as when someone "with sexual intent touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of the child or makes the child touch the vagina, penis, anus or breast of such person or any other person, or does any other act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without penetration is said to commit sexual assault."