The Bombay High Court has rejected a revision application filed by one Yashwantrao Mane, director of a Trust that runs an ashram school that has been charged for offences punishable under Section 19 r/w Section 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, Section 202 of IPC and Section 3(2)(vi) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Protection of Offences) Act 1988.
The revision application that was heard by Justice AM Badar, challenged the charge framed by a sessions judge this January. According to the prosecution, Mane had knowledge of the crime that had been committed under the POCSO Act and deliberately chose not to inform the police.
Shahaji Patole, a cook working at a residential ashram school in Satara district, committed penetrative sexual assault on a minor girl.
The girl’s friends were witnesses to the incident.
After the victim girl informed her aunt about the incident, Mane was also informed about the incident. However, Mane insisted on “settling the matter over a cup of tea to prevent defamation of the ashram school” instead of going to the police.
Submissions and Court’s Observations
Mane’s counsel Rahul Kate argued that unless the principal offence is proved against Shahaji Patole, main accused in the case, his client cannot be charged under the relevant sections of the POCSO Act.
Rejecting this argument, Justice Badar noted that Section 223 of CrPC in no unclear terms prescribes and permits joint trial of persons who have committed different offences, but in the course of same transaction.
Accepting a prime facie case being made out against the applicant accused, the bench observed:
“Material collected by the investigator during the course of the investigation indicates that the revision petitioner was certainly having specific knowledge about commission of the offence of aggravated penetrative assault on the victim female child by the employee of the Ashram School run by the Trust.”
Thus, the revision application was rejected.
Read the Order here.