Mumbai: A sessions court on Wednesday refused relief under the Probation of Offenders Act to a 31-year-old man who had made lewd comments and gestures at a woman in March 2014 and stated that deterrence is required in such offences.
The man and two of his co-accused and friends had challenged their conviction and sentencing by a Dadar magistrate court in the offence in Nov 2019. The magistrate had sentenced them to three months imprisonment under Sec 509 of the IPC (word or gesture intended to outrage modesty of woman) and Sec 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt). The sessions court upheld the punishment of the applicant Bharat Gollar, but set aside the conviction of his two co-accused for the offence under Sec 509.
The trio then sought relief under the Probation of Offenders Act in which they can be released on bond of good behaviour and cited their young age. While granting the relief to Gollar’s co-accused, the court ordered that Gollar be taken in custody forthwith and refused to extend the benefit of probation to him.
Additional Sessions Judge AT Wankhede said in his order, “Considering the nature of offence and offence and allegations against Bharat of making obscene comments and gestures towards the victim, he is not entitled for benefit of Probation of Offenders Act. In fact, in such an offence, deterrence is required to be made so that no one would dare to make such obscene comments and gestures at any victim/girl that too at any public place.” The court added that he does not deserve to be extended the benefit of the Act.
While extending the relief to his co-accused who were only found guilty of voluntarily causing hurt, Judge Wankhede said that if they do not have any criminal antecedents and to protect their future from stigma and criminal past and possible contamination in prison, the benefit can be extended to them. It also considered their age of 29 and 32 years while doing so. Both have been directed to be released on furnishing bonds of Rs 10,000 each with sureties and a bond of good behaviour for a year.
The incident had happened at Worli when the woman had gone to give tiffin to her male friend. The three unknown youths, then in their early 20’s, had picked a quarrel with them and assaulted them. It began with Gollar making lewd comments on the woman, calling her an ‘item’.