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Bombay HC flexes broad inherent powers to punish molesters and possible attempted murderers with community service

Molestation and attempted-murder-accused alleged offenders were set free of their charges by the Bombay high court yesterday, in return for community service, reported IANS.

The four men will have the sweep public roads in Thane for eight hours every Sunday for the next six months, as punishment for misbehaving with women and assaulting a person who intervened when they were misbehaving in an inebriated state during a Dussehra procession in Thane in October 2015.

The four men were charged with five Indian Penal Code offences – molestation (Section 354), voluntarily causing hurt (Section 323), voluntarily causing hurt with weapons (324), intentional insult to provoke (504) and attempt to murder (307).

Except molestation and attempted murder, all other charges can be “compounded” under Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), that is to say that by consent between the accused and the victim these charges can be set aside.

The Supreme Court, in March 2014, widened the inherent powers of the high court under Section 482 of the CrPC to set aside serious offences such as attempted murder as well on the basis of mutual consent between the victim and the offender, as reported then by Live Law.

When the Bombay high court bench of justices Ranjit More and VL Achliya heard the criminal appeal of the four accused (Aniket Anil Jadhav & Anr Vs The State of Maharashtra CA 1325/2015) on 23 December 2015, the bench observed:

“This application is filed for quashing the FIR by consent. The said FIR was initially filed for the offences punishable under Section 354, 324, 323, 504 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

However, subsequently section 307 of the Indian Penal Code was added. Respondent No.2 is personally present in the court and has stated that he has no objection to quash the said FIR ”

However, since offence punishable under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code is added to the subject FIR , we direct the APP to file the medical papers of the injured.

A copy of the judgment in the case was not available at the time of going to press.

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