scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Friday, January 28, 2022

Complaint against Archbishop: Police calls it ‘misunderstanding’, set to file closure report before court

The police have prepared a closure report calling it a “C Summary” case. This is filed in cases where it is found that the complaint filed by a person is neither true nor false.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
January 15, 2022 1:27:05 am
On Friday, while the police had taken the report for submission to the magistrate's court, it was not filed due to some technicality. It is likely to be submitted on Saturday.(Representational)

THE MUMBAI Police is set to file a closure report into its probe against the archbishop and two bishops of the city in connection to a complaint filed by the family of a minor boy, alleging their failure to report the commission of a sexual offence.

The police have prepared a closure report calling it a “C Summary” case. This is filed in cases where it is found that the complaint filed by a person is neither true nor false. The police have claimed that the complaint resulted out of a misunderstanding and therefore, it cannot proceed further.

The report, which includes statements of those connected to the probe, seeks for the magistrate’s court to accept the closure report so the probe can be considered over and closed.

In 2015, a 12-year-old boy was sexually assaulted by a priest at a Catholic church in the city. The boy was assaulted twice by the priest. Following the second incident, the boy informed his parents on November 27, 2015.

In 2019, the boy’s father approached the special court conducting the trial against the priest. The application filed by him said that after the assault was revealed, they had called the zonal bishop and informed him about the incident. It was claimed that they did not get any reply, following which they went to the archbishop’s house.

It was claimed that they had to return to the house thrice before they were given an appointment on November 30, 2015. The application said that they were given an appointment for five minutes as the archbishop had to travel to Rome.

The family had claimed that no action was taken by him to report the offence and hence, an offence under Section 19 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act should be filed against him and two bishops, who were also approached.

As per Section 19, it is mandatory for any person, who has an apprehension that an offence under POCSO Act is likely to have been committed or has its knowledge, to provide such information to a Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police. The Act prescribes a punishment for six months or a fine or both for not reporting the commission of an offence.

The court had then said that there was no reference to these allegations in the statements of the witnesses but a letter was submitted acknowledging that they had visited the archbishop’s office. It had maintained that no purpose would be served by adding them to the ongoing trial against the priest but directed the police to conduct an investigation as per Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under the section, the police station is directed to hold a proper investigation and take necessary steps.

“It was found that after the family met the archbishop, the FIR was filed within a few hours on December 1. There was no delay in reporting of the offence. It was found that the complaint could have resulted out of misunderstanding and hence, it is concluded that the complaint can be closed as a C summary case,” an officer from the police station said.

After the special court’s order in 2019, the archbishop and two bishops had approached the Bombay High Court seeking quashing of the order. Pending hearing, the HC had directed no coercive action should be taken against them.

In HC, it was submitted on behalf of the archbishop that immediately after meeting the family, he had directed an inquiry to be conducted and also delegated an auxiliary bishop to supervise the hearings, contact the police and keep in touch with the family, as he was traveling to Rome the same day. The family had maintained that they did not receive any assistance and approached the police themselves.
Last month, the special court had found the 56-year-old priest guilty of sexually assaulting the minor and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The archbishop in a statement had then said that he is recommending to the Roman offices to resume hearings by a committee in Vatican, which could decide if there are sufficient grounds to defrock the priest.

On Friday, while the police had taken the report for submission to the magistrate’s court, it was not filed due to some technicality. It is likely to be submitted on Saturday.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Mumbai News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement