The sessions court has refused to set aside the conviction of a Lalbaugcha Raja volunteer for attacking a woman constable when she was on bandobast duty at the pandal during 2012 Ganeshotsav. The court observed that attacks on police personnel on duty are on the rise these days.
Umesh Jadhav, 33, a Lalbaugcha Raja volunteer was accused of attacking a woman constable Jijabai Pawar when she tried to intervene into a scuffle between Jadhav and one of the devotees. Jadhav had slapped Pawar and by the time the other police personnel could rush to her rescue, the accused had disappeared into the crowd.
The case was registered with Kalachowkie Police and Jadhav was arrested on the basis of the CCTV footage. The Metropolitan Magistrate court, Mazgaon had however, convicted Jadhav for the charge of assaulting or using a criminal force to deter public servants from discharge of their duty. The magistrate court had sentenced Jadhav to imprisonment of two years and a fine of Rs2,000.
Jadhav had then challenged the verdict of the magistrate court before the sessions court in 2014 alleging that the finding of the magistrate court were contrary to law and not based on true facts and evidence on record.
He had alleged that the site where of the incident was crowded as devotes would visit in large numbers. “The crowd was out of control, therefore the question of slapping the complainant by the accused and fleeing away from the spot was not possible. This creates doubt as there was no space at all to escape from the spot, when there was a heavy police bandobast there,” Jadhav claimed in his appeal. He also said that the police did not obtain a mandatory certificate for extracting CCTV footage from the organisers. Hence, the footage cannot be relied up.
The court while hearing the appeal held that even if the evidence of CCTV footage is not considered, the evidence of other witnesses was strong against the accused. “The accused has committed offence with a woman police constable while she was on duty. Now-a-days attacks on the police are on the rise,” the court observed while confirming the order of the magistrate court and held that it had rightly convicted Jadhav.