The court said it seems as if the police is trying to shield the accused in this particular case.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Monday reprimanded the Mumbai police for its “casual approach” in investigating cases of child sexual abuse. The court also summoned a senior police officer to explain the delay in investigating the complaint of rape of a three-year-old girl allegedly by school staff.
The division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi observed, “It seems to us that the police is trying to shield the accused.” The bench made these observations after it was alleged that despite the victim naming and identifying the accused there is a delay in completing the probe.
The bench directed the deputy commissioner of police, Zone-X to personally remain present before the court on November 1. The bench noted that the alleged incident took place in January and a formal police complaint was also filed by the victim’s mother in May, but the police was yet to complete the probe and arrest the accused.
“The victim’s statement and complaint are coherent, and yet, the police has gone on to examine 80 additional witnesses. What is the need for this?” asked the bench. The judges also said that this is an extremely serious issue because a child has been abused and raped in her school premises and sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act have been invoked in the complaint.
During hearing the prosecution informed the court that the police was trying its best to conduct a fair probe and that a female investigating officer had been appointed to head the probe.
The prosecution further stated that the accused persons have denied the charges against them and the police had conducted a lie detector test on them and found that they were not lying. The prosecutor also said that the medical examination of the child was inconclusive.
Following this, the bench said that this statement was “shocking” because the POCSO Act has provisions to rely upon the victim’s testimony. “Doesn’t the investigating officer know this?” asked the bench.
The offence came to light when the victim’s mother noticed that the child, a student of an international school, noticed that the child was unable to walk and sit properly. After much prodding, the victim revealed the incident and allegedly identified the accused persons — the director and a female teacher of the school — from their photographs on the school website.