In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court recently held that the identity of a person and his description is important rather than his name in the FIR, while refusing bail to a man convicted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for sexually assaulting a minor.
A single judge bench of Justice Prithviraj K Chavan passed the order last week on a plea filed by the convict, who had sought bail on the ground that his name was different from the name mentioned by the minor in the FIR. The convict has been sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting the minor in August 2019.
Lawyer Sudeep Pasbola, representing the convict, submitted that there was no evidence on record besides the evidence of the minor, who had named him Ganesh, while his real name was Uday. The convict was a school van cleaner. The van driver too faced charges under POCSO. After the parents came to know about the incident, an FIR was registered against the driver. After the victim identified Uday as the “other uncle”, he was charged for offences under POCSO.
Additional Public Prosecutor M H Mhatre opposed the bail plea, stating that irrespective of the minor having named him Ganesh, she had identified him in person and said she knew him. Mhatre strongly objected to the suspension of sentence as pleaded by the convict. “Merely because the victim states that he was Ganesh but in fact name of the applicant is Udaykumar, does not make any difference as the identity of the person and his description is important rather than his name,” the court said.
The court added, “It is significant to note that the applicant had been identified by the victim from other unknown persons standing with him, which is quite relevant.”
Justice Chavan held that prima facie evidence was strong and refused to enlarge appellant on trial expressing possibility of him repeating offence and causing threat to society.
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