Mumbai: Taking serious note of sexual assault of minor girl inmates by employees of a shelter home in Nashik district of Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court on Friday cancelled bail granted to four accused including a 70-year-old watchman, in the case.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha while cancelling the bail said, "Best interest and well being of the children has to be ensured for physical, mental and intellectual development. The accused should not have been granted bail till chargesheet was filed in the case."
The court, however, did not cancel bail granted to the fifth accused in the case, 72-year-old trustee Lalchand Pipada alias Mamaji, of the shelter home as he was not directly involved in the offence.
The four accused - superintendent of the home Bhausaheb Thorat, caretaker Santosh Thorat, caretaker Harshad Patil, and guard Bhalerao have been directed to surrender before the Panchvati police station in Nashik by May 12.
Public prosecutor Revati Dere informed the court that they have recorded statements of three victims whereas statements of three girls are yet to be recorded.
Dere opposed the bail of the trustee also saying that some of the girls had informed him about the sexual exploitation. "However, he did not take any action. Negligence is also an offence under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenders Act."
The High Court has asked the police to complete its investigation and submit chargesheet at the earliest.
The court also observed that as per its new circular an all-women special court should be set up to conduct the trial on an expeditious basis once the chargesheet is filed.
The court had taken suo moto (on its own) cognizance of the matter. Posting the case for hearing on June 13, Chief Justice Shah said, "What you (Maharashtra government) have been doing about shelter homes in the state remains to be seen."