Arguing against JJ Hospital Dean Dr T P Lahane’s anticipatory bail application at the sessions court on Tuesday, the prosecution submitted documents of an earlier complaint in which the National Commission for Scheduled Castes had recommended criminal action against him. In the latest complaint, Lahane was booked under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act for allegedly passing a casteist remark against a sweeper.
In January 2013, a professor had moved the National Commission for Scheduled Castes against Lahane. Sudhir Medekar, a professor from Dhule who was transferred to JJ hospital’s Skin and Venereal Diseases department, was allegedly denied the post for over five months. Allegedly “humiliated and intimidated” by Lahane and others, Medekar had to stop reporting to work.
National Commission chairperson P L Punia deemed the case fit for a criminal case against Lahane under the Schedule Castes/Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Medekar was transferred from Dhule on July 31 last year. However, according to Medekar’s complaint, he was allegedly denied permission by Lahane and was humiliated in public. “I do not want people from your caste to enter the premises and dishonour the college. This college is no trash bin to have people like you working here. I am not going to allow you to join the institution. Go wherever you like,” Lahane is quoted as having told Medekar in the latter’s application in Marathi to the National Commission.
While the application is still pending before the National Commission, it passed an interim order terming the case ideal for criminal action against Lahane. Punia called it a serious offence and observed that a case under the Prevention of Atrocities Act should have been registered against Lahane.
“The case is still pending before the commission,” said Medekar, who has been waiting since last July for the commission to pass an order. Medekar also alleges that he has been denied salary ever since he made the complaint.
Arguing for anticipatory bail in the February 14 case, involving a contractual sweeper at JJ Hospital, Lahane, represented by lawyer Aabad Ponda and Swapna Kode, submitted that the important ingredient of humiliation of the victim was not clearly seen in the case.
According to complainant Naresh Waghela, Lahane had allegedly abused him by calling him “bhangi”, which is a derogatory term. While Waghela has contended that Lahane abused him in the presence of several other employees, Lahane, a Padamshree recipient, claimed that Waghela’s allegations were false. “Complainant’s statement does not speak of humiliation, which is important in cases of atrocity,” Ponda argued.
Special Public Prosecutor Srikant Dukhande argued that the term was derogatory and unacceptable, and the usage of such terms attracted atrocity charges.
Sessions Judge R M Pande has reserved the order for February 27.