Saying "I love you" once to a girl is not an intentional insult to her modesty, at most it amounts to expressing a feeling of love, a special court here observed while acquitting a 23-year-old man booked under the POCSO Act.
Special judge Kalpana Patil made the observation on Tuesday, and detailed order was made available on Wednesday.
As per the complaint lodged by the family of the 17-year-old victim, the accused had told the girl that he loved her near their residence in 2016.
The complainant had further alleged that the accused had stared and winked at the girl, and also threatened her mother.
Based on the complaint, the Wadala TT police had booked the accused under relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
However, the court acquitted the accused of all the charges, as there was no sufficient material to prove his guilt.
"According to the victim, on the day of the incident, the accused had said 'I love you' to her. It is not the case that the accused had repeatedly followed her and said 'I love you'," the court said.
"A single incident of saying I love you to the victim will at the most amount to expressing the feeling of love of accused towards the victim. It cannot be said that this act was done with an intention to insult the modesty of the victim," it added.
It also held that the prosecution has not brought on record an overt act of the accused that amounted to insult to the modesty of the victim.
The prosecution has also not brought on record any evidence establishing that the accused had committed any act with respect to the victim with sexual intent, or that he had given any kind of threat to the victim or her mother, the court said.