Child molested, police file rape charge, drop it

A three-year-old girl was allegedly molested by the conductor of her school bus but, in an apparent goof up, the police registered a rape case against him.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh Saturday admitted police had made a mistake by invoking rape and attempt-to-rape charges in the case. "Our men made a mistake)," he said. "There was no rape or attempt to rape. We are rectifying our mistake."

Bus conductor Ramesh Rajput allegedly molested the girl in Juhu Tuesday when children were being dropped home. He allegedly pushed the girl to the rear seat of the 16-seater bus and touched her inappropriately. The incident reached Juhu Police on Thursday after a paediatrician confirmed injury marks on the girl's private parts.

Rajput was arrested on Friday. According to officers from Juhu Police Station, section relating to rape were applied as they relied on a recent recommendation of the Union Law Commission. The section is applied when there is penetration by male copulatory organ. The recommendation believed to have been made is that in case the victim is a minor, the section need not be rigidly followed, and can be applied whenever there is contact with private parts. Police said they later realised that the recommendation had not yet been notified by the Law Commission.

The police on Saturday dropped rape and attempt-to-rape charges. The public prosecutor informed the court that the charges were applied by mistake. "The case will not suffer due to dropping of the section," said Vishwas Nangre-Patil, Additional Commissioner of Police, West Region.

Based on medical reports, the charges of molestation and sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 have been retained.

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