Girl Can’t be treated as property and given in donation to a Baba by a Father: Bombay HC

Girl Can't be treated as property and given in donation to a Baba by a Father: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court ruled that the Girl Cannot be treated as a property and given in donation to a Baba by a Father.

Background

The victim informant, who is stated to be a 17 years old girl, states that she resides with her father, who is a devotee in Mahadev Temple. She was proceeding at about 4.00 p.m. on a scooter owned by one Baba near her house, at that time, she was stopped by both the applicants. She was dragged near Mosambi garden. After outraging her modesty, they had ravished her. Thereafter, she was allowed to go. 

Arguments

The applicant contended that the provisions of POCSO Act are not applicable prima facie. As regards the medical opinion, there were absolutely no signs on the body of the girl which would indicate that the act was forcible.

The APP vehemently argued that there is ample evidence collected against the applicants. The act done by the applicants is heinous. The victim had given her date of birth in her FIR itself and that was sufficient, though at this stage the radiological age of the girl is stated to be between 17 to 19 years, yet the date of birth can be proved at the time of trial.  

Court order

The single judge bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi noted that Photocopy of the document styled as ‘Danpatra’ on stamp paper of Rs.100/- executed between the father of the girl and the Baba has been produced. It is stated that the father of the girl has given his daughter in donation (Daan) to the Baba and it is stated that the said Kanyadan has been made in presence of the god. 

“When the girl as per her own statement is minor, then why the father, who is in all respect guardian of the girl should give the girl as Daan ? A girl is not a property which can be given in donation” the court said. 

The court stated that in view of the actions taken by the father of the girl in executing “Danpatra”, the Court is required to interfere. This is in view of the future of the girl and she should not be driven to do any illegal activities. 

The court allowed the bail applications and directed the Child Welfare Committee, Jalna to hold an inquiry on expeditious basis in respect of the girl i.e. victim/informant and to consider whether the girl/child is fit to be declared as child in need of care and protection. 

The court further directed the investigating officer to make available the copy of the charge-sheet to the Child Welfare Committee and the Registrar (Judicial) to supply a copy of the impugned “Danpatra” and also the affidavit filed on 21.10.2021 to Child Welfare Committee. 

The court ordered to place the matters for further consideration along with the report on 21.01.2022. 

Recently, the single Judge bench of Justice M. G. Sewlikar received the report of the Child Welfare Committee and ordered the stand over of the matter till 4th February, 2022.

Case title: Shankeshwar @ Shambhu s/o Bhausaheb Dhakne v/s The State of Maharashtra 

Citation: 907 BAIL APPLICATION NO.1366 OF 2021 WITH BA/1345/2021 

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