The Bombay High Court today directed the Thane police to record the statement of a 15-year-old girl who had alleged harassment at the hands of the Thane Municipal Commissioner.
A bench of Justices R M Savant and Sarang Kotwal directed ACP (special branch) Padmaja Chavan to record the girl's statement at a place and time of her choosing in accordance with the mandate of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
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The bench was hearing a plea filed by activist Vikrant Karnik seeking appropriate directions to the Thane police.
In his plea, Karnik had alleged that the 15-year-old girl had been employed by Thane Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal as a domestic help.
He said that in December last year, he came across a video on social media in which the girl had alleged that Jaiswal had subjected her to mistreatment and harassment.
Karnik claimed he filed a police complaint and also wrote to the Thane Police Commissioner seeking a probe into the matter, but appropriate steps were not taken.
The Maharashtra government, meanwhile, submitted that soon after the alleged video surfaced, the girl and her family left Thane for Surat, in Gujarat. And hence, her statement could not be recorded.
The state also raised doubts on the veracity of the girl's allegations. The bench, however, noted that the police had an obligation to implement the provisions of the Act that deal with recording a minor victim's statement irrespective of any apprehensions on the veracity of the allegations.
"We hope and trust that the alleged victim's statement is recorded in the presence of a woman officer in consonance with the provisions of the Act," the bench said while granting the police four weeks to do the same.