The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to grant bail to two accused arrested last year after a video showing two nine-year-old Dalit boys being beaten up and paraded naked for allegedly trying to pilfer a snack item went viral.
In doing so, Justice AM Badar noted that the accused have been booked under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), and considered it imperative to take serious view of such cases in view of the rise in offences under these laws.
“It is duty of every citizen to protect and preserve self-respect and honour of members belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. However, off­late there has been constant increase in commission of atrocities against members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. Such type of offence damages social fabric and harmony. Such offences develop a sense of inferiority amongst the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe. By such hateful acts self-image, prestige and dignity of members of the Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribe is lost,” Justice Badar observed.
The court was hearing appeals filed by two brothers—Irfan Mehmud Pathan and Salim Mehmud Pathan, who had been refused bail by the Sessions Court at Kalyan. They had pointed out that their father, who was also arrested in relation with the same incident, has been released on bail by the trial court, and hence, they should be granted bail as well.
The duo had further submitted that they have already undergone pretrial detention for about 17 months and that the trial of the alleged offences has not commenced yet.
Justice Badar, however, noted that the charge sheet in the case projects the worst form of child abuse, involving the sort of trauma that the children would be affected by throughout their life.
“Incident of tonsuring head of Kunal and Ramesh partially garlanding them with footwear and parading them naked will certainly lead to several abnormality in their future life. This incident will certainly lead to unbearable trauma, fear and behavioural problems to the victims who happen to be young kids,” the judge observed.
The court further opined that if released on bail, there is every possibility of the appellants tampering with prosecution evidence. Thereafter, refusing to grant bail to them, the court ruled, “Considering the nature of evidence, the manner in which the offence is committed and the victims of the crime in question, no case for grant of bail is made out. I am unable to find out any illegality in the impugned order rejecting bail applications of both the appellants by the learned trial Court.”
The Appeals were, therefore, dismissed, with a direction to the trial court to take up the hearing of the matter immediately and conclude it within a period of six months.