THE FAMILY of Swapnil Sonavane, a 15-year-old Dalit boy who was killed in 2016 allegedly over an inter-caste relationship, on Tuesday moved court against the Thane collector, accusing him of contempt of court orders.
Their lawyer, Amit Katarnavare, filed the plea before the special sessions court after another hearing in the case was postponed, as there was no camera to record the proceedings.
In July last year, the Thane sessions court had ordered that all further hearings into the alleged honour killing of Swapnil be recorded on camera. However, till date, no camera has been provided for the purpose, which is the responsibility of the respective collectorate.
Alleging that around a year has passed since the court ordered in- camera proceedings, the plea stated that the Thane collector is yet to execute the order and accused him of committing contempt of court. “That due to the non-execution of the said order, the trial is prolonged and hence, there are chances that the present accused may be released on bail on the ground of delay in trial,” the plea added.
The family, through its lawyer, has requested the court to initiate administrative inquiry against the collector, said Shahaji Sonavane, father of Swapnil. The plea sought the court to pass an order to direct the investigation agency to probe the “offence committed by the collector”. “The collector should answer in front of the court now… what made him delay the provision of providing a camera for video recording of proceedings for almost a year,” Katarnavare said.
When contacted, Thane Collector Rajesh Narvekar said, “I have recently taken charge and am not aware of such a court order. I will gather more information and take necessary action.” Narvekar had assumed charge earlier this month.
On July 19, 2016, Swapnil and his parents were summoned by the family of a 16-year-old girl, with whom he was in a relationship. Near the girl’s house in Nerul, her elder brother and father allegedly assaulted Swapnil, causing his death. Hours before his death, the family had approached Nerul police with a complaint against the girl’s brother for assaulting Swapnil a day before. The police station had then refused to register a complaint. A few days after the incident, Nerul police had arrested seven persons, including the girl’s family members.