Several courts including top court have called out the misuse of Gender Biased Laws, yet failed to put a system in place which can address the menace of fake or counter allegations to settle score. However, this time the alleged victim in such a matter is not a common man, but the family of a retired Chief Justice of another state, who also served as a Bombay High Court judge earlier.
The son of this retired judge initially filed a case of POCSO against his father-in-law and subsequently, his wife filed a case under Section 498A against her husband, his brother as well as mother-in-law.
Retired Judge’s son filed a POCSO case against his father-in-law alleging that he had sexually exploited his four-year-old son. However, within two-days of the said case, his wife lodged a case under Section 498A
accusing her husband, his brother and in-laws of harassing her for dowry since her marriage in 2014.
POCSO Case By Father (Son of Ex-Judge)
The matter proceeded further, when the judge’s son also filed a petition in the Bombay High Court alleging that his father-in-law has an influence over the cops and hence, they were not taking the important steps resulting in delay or inaction in the case. His petition also demands transfer of the case from a police station in South Mumbai to “any other police station, crime unit or any other special unit within the Maharashtra Police force.”
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The judge’s son alleged that the cops were deliberately not arresting the accused, inspite of the offences falling under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and sodomy. The father of the victim (4-year-old son) also put forth that the manner in which his child’s statement was recorded before the Magistrate was not “child-friendly” as per the POCSO Act. The petition also mentioned that the incident of sexual harassment at the hands of child’s maternal grandfather is not one-off.
498A Case By Wife (Daughter-in-Law Of Ex-Judge)
Simultaneously, the judge’s daughter-in-law also filed a case under section 498A (harassment), along with wrongful confinement, criminal breach of trust, intentional insult, criminal intimidation and common intention of more than one accused.
The woman got married to the judge’s son in 2014, and according to her, she has been harassed for dowry soon after the wedding. She alleged that,
Her husband and in-laws would humiliate, threaten, insult and taunt her, whenever she would avoid demanding money from her father and they would insult her and her son saying they are slow learners and they would mentally torture her.
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The judge’s family has called out these dowry allegations and suggested that the woman’s FIR is a counter-blast to the POCSO case. The judge’s family approached Sessions Court for their anticipatory bail application.
High Court Observations
As an interim relief, the high court has stated that the child’s statement in POCSO case will not be considered in any proceeding till the court decides on this issue. The matter is likely to be heard again on December 2.
The sessions court, on the other hand said that it did not want to rule the authenticity of both cases, however, taking note of the wife’s allegations, the court observed that there was no reason to disbelieve her. While rejecting the need for custodial interrogation, the accused trio will have to pay Rs 15,000 each for the pre-arrest bail.