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The High Court granted pre-arrest bail after noting that the offence under Section 3(1)(w)(i) can take place when a person intentionally touches a woman belonging to the scheduled caste.
The Aurangabad Division Bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay Waghase has granted anticipatory bail to 3 persons who were booked under the Atrocities Act while observing that merely because a sound was created in a person’s own house cannot directly infer that it was made with the intention of sexual nature against the informant.
The appellants had approached the High Court after the Sessions Court had denied pre-arrest bail to them.
The case pertains to alleged incidents which took place against the informant. The accused persons were booked under the Atrocities Act after the informant in the FIR had stated that the accused had abused her in chorus, to which the court said that it was an unbelievable act to abuse someone in chorus and that abuses cannot be given in chorus. The informant had also alleged that one of the neighbours used to whistle at her.
The informant had also made a complaint to the landlord and alleged the landlord abused them on phone. The said landlord was also booked under the atrocities act. The court said that,
“Abuses when given on phone cannot be said to be within the public view or at a public place so as to attract the ingredients of offence punishable under Section 3(1)(r) or 3(1)(s) of the Atrocities Act.”
The informant also alleged that the 3 persons had pelted stones at her. However, the court, in its order said,
“The place where the informant was standing or her husband was standing and where the accused persons were standing is not clarified in the First Information Report. Therefore, these facts also do not attract the offence under Section 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(s) of the Atrocities Act.”
The court also said that the offence under Section 3(1)(w)(i) of the Act can be invoked when the person intentionally touches a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste knowing that she belongs to that caste and such touch is of a sexual nature and is without consent. The Court further said,
“She says about the acts alleged to have been committed by appellant No.1 on 21.03.2022, 22.03.2022 and 23.03.2022, however, it is to be noted that all those acts appeared to have been committed from the house of the appellants and it cannot be even prima facie inferred that it was with some such nature. Merely because some sound is created by a person in his house we cannot directly infer that it is with such an intention that it is with sexual nature towards the informant. Therefore, even prima facie offence under Section 3(1)(w)(ii) of the Atrocities Act cannot be said to be attracted.”
Case Title: Yogesh Laxman Pandav & Ors vs State of Maharashtra & Anr
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