Opening trouser zip for young girl not sex assault, Indian court rules

Holding a small girl’s hand and opening trouser zip is not sexual assault, Indian court rules in second recent judgement seen to protect perverts preying on children

  • Libnus Kujur, 50, was found guilty of sex assault in India after mother found him in her house and holding her young daughter’s hand with his trouser zip undone 
  • He was sentenced to five years in jail, but appealed the ruling to the High Court
  • Judge agreed in a ruling this week, saying his actions were not sexual assault 
  • Kujur will now be set free, having served just five months of his total sentence 

Holding the hand of a small girl with the zip of your trouser undone is not sexual assault, an Indian court has ruled, in the second such ruling disclosed this week.

Libnus Kujur, 50, from the city of Nagpur, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault in October last year after a mother found him in her house, holding the hand of her young daughter with his zip undone while trying to lead her to bed.

But Kujur appealed the sentence and on January 20 Justice Pushpa Ganediwala agreed, ordering that he should be released from jail after just five months.

A judge at the Bombay High Court (pictured) has ruled that groping a child through their clothes cannot be defined as sexual assault, sparking outcry

The ruling was revealed just days after another order by the same judge came to light, staying that groping a 12-year-old girl through her clothes was not sex assault. 

The first order has been halted while it is reviewed by the Attorney General. It is not immediately clear whether the second order will also be reviewed.

Kujur was initially convicted after a district court heard that the mother had returned home on February 11, 2018, to find that he had broken into her house where her two young daughters were staying while she was at work.

Court documents do not give either girls’ age, but say that both of them were under 12 years old.

The mother said Kujur ‘had caught hold of the hands of my elder daughter and was taking [her] inside a room’ and that he had opened the zip of his trousers.

The court found the mother’s evidence, along with the evidence of seven other witnesses, to be credible and convicted Kujur of outraging modesty, home invasion, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault, due to the girl’s age. 

Kujur then appealed to the Bombay High Court, where Judge Ganediwala handed down her ruling on January 20.

She wrote: ‘The acts of “holding the hands of the victim”, or “opening zip of the pant”… in the opinion of this Court, does not fit in the definition of “sexual assault”.’

The ruling over Kujur’s case came in the same week that Judge Ganediwala concluded groping children through their clothes is also not sexual assault.

In that case, a 39-year-old named Satish had been sentenced to three years in 2016 for groping a 12-year-old girl’s breast and trying to remove her dress.

Judge Ganediwala ruled that there must be ‘skin-on-skin’ contact to prove that a sexual assault had taken place, and shot down the sentence.

The decision sparked outrage among campaigners and a backlash online, with people attacking the judge over her logic.

‘This ruling was given by a female judge. That’s all we need to know about India and the plight of its female victims,’ one wrote.

‘They say it’s not under sexual assault but… it is a minor act. I have been a victim of this “minor act” when I was 13, it feels horrible,’ another added.

‘Disgusting to hear what a female judge said about an adult male groping a minor girl in India. No doubt India is one of the worst countries for women,’ a third added.

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