Anurag s_o Jamnashankar Pandey Vs. State of Maharashtra
The petitioner is a headmaster who was initially accused of violating Sections 324 of the IPC and 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015. The petitioner was absolved of the offense under S. 324 of the IPC according to the sessions court’s order dated 10/8/2021. However, in the same order, the Ld. Judge further directed that charges under Section 75 of the J.J. Act, 2015 against the petitioner be sustained.
1. The word “actual” means real; existing in an act as opposed to constructive, theoretical, or speculative, as in actual possession or actual seizure. The court held that the phrase “actual charge of, or control over,” would have to be interpreted strictly in order to be used in this context. Therefore, the phrase “actual in charge” in the context of section 75 of the J.J. Act must necessarily imply that the children were under the actual charge or control of a person, and not in any other way.
2. The second proviso to Section 75 of the J.J. Act, when it relates to an organisation, makes a person employed by or managing such organisation guilty of the offence, only if such person employed by or managing the organisation was the person who had committed the acts as contemplated by Section 75 of the J.J. Act.
The facts of the case are that Manaish Haribhau Raut was appointed as a dance teacher and on 30.11.2016, when the said dance teacher was teaching dance to the students in the school and while the practice was going on, he assaulted his students with an iron rod causing injuries to them, as a result of which, a complaint was lodged.
Further, the Ld. Counsel for the petitioner contends that Section 75 of the J.J. Act, 2015, would not be attracted, as the basic ingredient necessary for its application is the actual charge of or control over a child and the assault by such a person. In the present matter, though the Head Master, was not in actual charge or had control over the children, rather it was the dance teacher Manish Haribhau Raut.
The Ld. Counsel for the Respondents however, claimed that Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 would be attracted as the applicant, who was the Headmaster of the institution, was in fact having overall control over the children, and therefore, the application needed to be rejected. The Court thus observed that the word ‘actual’ means real; existing in act as opposed to constructive, theoretical, or speculative, as in actual possession, actual seizure. Further, on Section 75 of the J.J. Act, the court opined that the person has to be in actual charge of, or has to have control over a child and that the expression means that the children were under the actual charge or control of the person. The Court further reiterated the meaning within the second proviso to the section 75 of the J.J. act. The court was of the opinion that when it relates to an organisation, a person employed by or managing such organisation would be guilty of the offence, only if such person employed by or managing the organisation was the person who had committed the acts as contemplated by Section 75 of the J.J. Act.
As per the facts of the case, the children were in the dance class being conducted by the dance teacher by name Manish Haribhau Raut and the applicant, who is the Headmaster of the institution was nowhere near the said class and neither any action of any assault has been committed by the applicant, nor is there any allegation of the same. Thus, the court observed that the Applicant was merely roped into this for the reason of him being the headmaster of the institution, whereas the alleged incident which took place is directly attributed to only the dance teacher Manish Haribhau Raut.
Due to the lack of statements from the witnesses and no police records, there was nothing to support the claims that the applicant was ever in charge of or had control over the children. All those statements consistently record that the actual charge or control over the children was the dance teacher, Manish Haribhau Raut. Hence, the court held that it was apparent that the applicant would not fall within the meaning of the expression “whoever has actual charge of, or control over”. The order from the Sessions court was thus quashed and set aside.
The court reiterated the meaning of “actual charge of children” and stated that the person must really be in charge or control of children, and not theoretically. Further, it was held that a person merely by the virtue of his position cannot be held liable within the purview of section 75 of the J.J. Act. However, in order for a person to be held liable for the said offense, he must either commit the said offense or contribute towards the commission of the said offense, as per the second provision under section 75 of the J.J. Act.