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Lawarte faced charges under Section 8 (Sexual assault) and Section 12 (Sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. Allegedly, the wrestling teacher committed the said acts between June 2020 and September 2022, leading to the filing of the FIR on September 21, 2023.
The Bombay High Court has granted interim relief to a kusti (wrestling) teacher who was accused of sexually assaulting and harassing 10 male minors.
A single-judge bench led by Justice MM Sathaye heard a plea filed by Sameer Lawarte, a wrestling teacher instructing students at Dyan Prabodhini Prashala in Pune.
Lawarte faced charges under Section 8 (Sexual assault) and Section 12 (Sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
Allegedly, the wrestling teacher committed the said acts between June 2020 and September 2022, leading to the filing of the FIR on September 21, 2023.
The counsel representing the applicant argued that the nature of the sport of Kusti involves training with a specific type of clothing (langot) and that training necessarily entails physical engagement among the students or with the teacher, usually in a place called an akhada filled with red clay.
The counsel added that he had the school's permission to teach Kusti to the students in the akhada. Consequently, he contended that the allegations in the FIR do not constitute the alleged offence, and he should be granted ad-interim protection.
The Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) vehemently opposed the plea for granting any ad-interim protection.
The APP argued that considering the nature of the averments in the FIR and the observations made by the Sessions Judge, who mentioned statements from 10 victim boys, no ad-interim protection should be granted.
The high court was of the opinion that ad interim relief could be granted to the teacher by imposing stringent conditions. The court also issued also notice to the complainant.
In the event of arrest, the high court allowed the teacher to be released on bail of Rs. 50,000 with one or two sureties in a like amount.
Advocates Akshay Deshmukh, Lavinha Rosario, Aniket Pawar appeared for the applicant.
Additional Public Prosecutor YY Dabake appeared for the state government.
Case title: Sameer Lawate vs State of Maharashtra & Anr
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