‘Call for Report’ is not mandatory under Section 4 of the Probation of Offender’s Act,1958: Bombay HC

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of  Prakash D. Naik, J., addressed a Criminal Revision Application challenging the order passed by learned Special Judge for rejecting the application to ‘call for the report’ of probation officer under Section 4(1)(2) of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, by giving a clear vision in reference to the said provision of the Act and its essentiality in reference to a case to case dependency.

In the present case, the facts state that the applicant was a field officer at ‘Apnalaya Sanstha’ and was accused of molestation and outraging the modesty of a child/victim who used to attend the classes conducted under Sanstha. For the said act, the applicant accused was punishable under Section 354 A of Indian Penal Code and Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The Trial Court rejected the application stating that it is for the Court to consider the circumstances of the case and the nature of offence as to when the benefit of the said provisions can be given to the accused.

Therefore, the Hon’ble High Court found no infirmity in the order of rejection stated above and dismissed the Criminal Revision Application, by placing its view that the court is always required to apply its mind to the requirements for exercising powers as contemplated under Section 4 of the Probation of Offender’s Act.

On analysing the stated facts and observing that the accused being a 40 year old  man had deliberately committed the said act, Court stated that if PW2 was the victim today, someone else would be tomorrow, which lead the Court to the contention of ‘calling for reports’ not mandatory in every case as been claimed by the applicant, otherwise every other accused would demand so. In accordance to the stated  facts, Court declared that ‘Judicial attitude ought to have been against allowing the benefit of probation to him, who was otherwise an educated and experienced person in life.’ Further, Court declared that there is no merit in the application and therefore, it stands dismissed. [Nishant Harishchandra Salvi v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1305, decided on 18-06-2018]

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