Confusion over rules delays remand of sodomy accused

Confusion over rules laid down under the newly enforced Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (PCSO) Act, 2012, on Tuesday led to delay in an accused being remanded in police custody .

Mohammad Samir Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari (28), a tailor, was arrested Monday evening for allegedly sodomising an eight-year-boy. While he was booked under the PCSO Act, neither the police nor the court had an idea where he could be produced for police remand. An accused is supposed to be produced in court within 24 hours of arrest.

On Tuesday, cops produced Ansari before Kurla Magistrate Deepak Kochhe. "The court asked the accused to be produced before a special court. However, no special court has been set up under the Act so far. Our men (constables) took Ansari to Kurla court, from there they rushed him to Kala Ghoda sessions court and then back to the Kurla court where he was finally remanded in police custody till February 8," said Prahlad Panaskar, senior inspector of Deonar police station.

Hand-cuffed and veiled, Ansari was dragged from one courtroom to another at the sessions court. With no clear instructions. the constables were left with nothing but the law book to rely on.

"The Kurla court clerk has handed over this Act booklet to us. We asked around at each room in the sessions court if it were the designated special court. We were clueless," said one of the constables.

"An accused has to be produced within 24 hours and it was already 25 hours since he was arrested," said the other constable.

Finally at 5.30 pm, when the constables called the police station, Panaskar asked them to return to Deonar along with the accused.

"The Act mentions that the case be tried under a special court but custody has to be sought before a magistrate court only. After over six hours of shuttling between Kurla and Kala Ghoda, the magistrate finally sent Ansari to police custody at 7 pm," said Panaskar.

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