Bombay High Court grants bail to 20-year-old accused of sodomy

"The purpose of rehabilitative sentencing is to reform the offender as a person so that he may become a normal law-abiding member of the community once again." The Bombay High Court made the observation while granting bail to a 20-year-old boy accused under the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act.

A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati Dangre passed this order while hearing a criminal bail application filed by Shubham Suresh Thorat.

The bail application seeks release of the applicant who has been charge-sheeted in registered with Chaturshrungi Police Station for offences punishable under Sections 377, 323, 506 of the IPC and for offences under Sections 3(a), 3(c) read with Sections 4, 5(e), 5(m) read with Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POSCO).

The applicant came to be arrested on February 5, 2020 and is presently lodged in Yerawada Jail, Pune.

The offence was registered on the complaint filed on February 5, 2020 by the mother of the victim. She reported that on February 4, 2020, when she returned home in the evening, her son aged 13 years, appeared frightened and when enquired, he informed her that the applicant had asked him to accompany him to his house at 3pm and when he went to his house, he locked the door from inside and he was made to sleep on the coat and remove his clothes.

When he asked the applicant, why he is doing so, he gave blows on his back and ribs. It is then alleged that the applicant attempted to have carnal intercourse with him and when he raised an alarm, the applicant pressed his mouth and once again attempted to commit the unnatural act. When he felt dizzy because of the act, he was asked to wear the clothes and threatened that he would be killed if he reported the incident to anyone.

This resulted in a report being lodged on the very next day i.e. on February 5, 2020 and an offence was registered under Section 377 of the IPC apart from the relevant Sections of POCSO Act.

The bench added an additional stipulation that the accused will continue to undergo counseling at the hands of clinical psychologists and this should be catered to by the Sassoon General Hospital, Pune.

The victim was subjected to medical examination on February 5 at 4:15 pm. The examination of his private parts revealed that there is a tear of approximately 2 x 0.2 cm over anus, it is reddish without any bleeding.

The Court noted that considering the fact that the applicant himself is aged 20 years and is a young boy, with the antecedents which have been reported and which reflect that he is already in conflict with law, a report was called from Yerwada Central Prison by order dated December 3, 2020.

SV Gavand, Additional Public Prosecutor, placed on record the report from the Yerawada Central Prison in which the superintendent of prison has reported that the behaviour of the applicant in jail since the date of his incarceration i.e. on February 10, 2020 is satisfactory.

In the opinion expressed by the Clinical Psychiatrist, Yerawada Central Prison, the applicant's behaviour and mental condition is found to be stable.

The Court observed: "Apart from the seriousness of the accusation, which he is facing, his impressionable age will also have to be taken into consideration while dealing with his bail application. He is reported to have indulged in the past, when he was juvenile in offences invoking Sections 323 and 324, 504, 506 of the IPC. Barely attaining the majority, in the year 2018, he is involved in two offences registered in Chaturshrungi Police Station; one invoking Sections 323, 324, 504 and 506 with Arms Act and another offence invoking Sections 354 , 354A(1) of the IPC. Chapter proceedings were also initiated against the applicant."

"Across the globe, rehabilitation seeks to bring about fundamental changes in offenders and their behaviour. It generally works through education and psychological transformation to reduce the likelihood of future criminality. The purpose of the reformative theory also known as rehabilitative sentencing is to reform the offender as a person so that he may become a normal law abiding member of the community once again," the Court held.

The Counsel argued his long incarceration may turn him into a hardened criminal and the apprehension cannot be said to be unfounded. However, at the same time for commission of the alleged acts which are legally prohibited, he will have to be punished.

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While granting bail to the accused, the Court noted that the release of the applicant is in the form of an experiment to work out on the reformation of the accused person, awaiting trial expecting that the applicant will not indulge himself further in any unlawful act.