The Act, which has been part of the criminal justice system since its enactment in 1958, has provisions for release of first-time offenders to avoid a jail term and give a chance to their rehabilitation in society.
A 25-year-old man, who was found guilty of assaulting his neighbour in 2019 over an issue of water storage in their lane, was released after being given the benefit of the rarely used Probation of Offenders Act by a metropolitan magistrate’s court last week. The Act, which has been part of the criminal justice system since its enactment in 1958, has provisions for release of first-time offenders to avoid a jail term and give a chance to their rehabilitation in society.
On July 4, 2019, the informant, Mohammed Tahir, a resident of Andheri was walking home while returning from the market. The accused, who was walking behind him, asked for space to go ahead. Tahir told the court as there were many drums and buckets in the lane due to water shortage, there was no space to walk. He said he tried to remove the buckets, but the accused took the bag of vegetables from Tahir’s hand and threw it. He then began abusing Tahir. The next day as well, the accused climbed onto Tahir’s roof, entered his house and gave blows to his face, dislocating his teeth. DN Nagar police booked the accused on charges under IPC sections 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 455 (house-trespass) and 504 (provocation).
After he was found guilty under IPC sections 325 and 455, the accused submitted that considering his age, he was entitled to get benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act. The accused also said that being a neighbour of Tahir, who is a senior citizen, he and his family also take care of him as a social responsibility. He also said he has not been convicted previously and will not commit any offence in the future.
“In order to give an opportunity to the accused to mend himself and considering aforesaid circumstances, I am inclined to release the accused on good behaviour bond under Section 4 of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. While granting the benefit…I am also concerned with the hurt and trauma caused to the informant. Considering the economic status of the accused, I am of the opinion that, accused can afford to pay a reasonable amount of compensation to the informant (P.W.1),” the court said, directing that a sum of Rs 1,000 be paid to the victim.
The court said instead of sentencing at once to any punishment, the accused will be released on entering into a bond of Rs 1,000 for a period of one year. If during this period, the accused complies with the conditions of the bond to keep peace and be of good behaviour, the court will consider his conduct and decide on discharging the bond entered into by him.
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