Mumbai: Taking serious note of the trend of college students filing criminal cases to settle personal scores and then approaching the courts for quashing the proceedings after the law is set in motion, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday imposed an unusual punishment. The court has accordingly asked two 17-year-olds embroiled in a murky spat to give an undertaking that they would score at least 70 per cent marks in their upcoming HSC exams.
The bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Revati Mohite-Dere was irked with the students for trying to settle personal scores by filing cases instead of preparing for their board exams, which begin next month. The girl had registered a case with the Dindoshi police station accusing the boy, who studied at another college, of outraging her modesty by pulling her dupatta. Since the girl was minor, the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) were invoked against the boy.
The boy, on the other hand, registered a cross complaint against the girl under charges of criminal intimidation. With board exam dates nearing, the students, both Malad residents, petitioned Justice Dharmadhikari’s bench, urging him to quash the criminal cases registered against them. The judges noted that instead of preparing for their board exams, the students were busy indulging in filing such cases.
“We cannot quash the FIRs just because you both claim to have settled the matter amicably outside the court. You must learn a lifetime lesson,” Justice Dharmadhikari said. “If you want the FIRs to be quashed, put it on an affidavit that you will score at least 70 per cent in the exams. You are students, you ought to study and not waste time in such things,” said a visibly irked Justice Dharmhikari.
Hearing this, the counsels for both the girl and the boy, informed the bench that the students were unsure if they could obtain such high marks in their exams. “Thus, they are not willing to file such an affidavit. Please take a lenient view, as these are students,” implored the students’ counsels. Interrupting the submission, Justice Dharmadhikari said, “You being their counsel, you must think of their welfare.
Whatever we are doing is only for the welfare of these children.” The bench, after considering the submission, referred the issue to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) at Dongri, Mumbai, asking it to understand the contentions of the students and file a report. “If the CWC finds it appropriate to direct the students to perform some social work, it is at liberty to do so. The CWC has to file a report before this court before the next hearing,” Justice Dharmadhikari said. The bench accordingly posted the matter for further hearing on April 2.