Ground for release of Pacheco under Probation of Offenders Act challenged
The release of Nuvem legislator, Mr Francisco Xavier Pacheco, on probation by additional sessions judge of South Goa, Ms Vijay Pol, in a case relating to assault on a government servant in 2006 has been challenged before the Bombay High Court at Goa through a criminal revision petition. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Monday.
The release of Mr Pacheco on admonition and granting him benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act has been challenged on the ground that it was done without calling for the report from the Probation Officer as was required under section 4 (2) of the Probation of offenders Act.
The petition has been filed by a lawyer and social activist, Mr Aires Rodrigues in which he has also pointed out that the order of the additional sessions judge was without jurisdiction as she had no powers to revise an order passed earlier by the assistant sessions judge in the criminal appeal filed by Mr Pacheco.
Mr Rodrigues has further submitted that the additional sessions judge had exceeded her jurisdiction in a revision to alter the charge from Section 353 to 323, when the fact that Mr Kapil Natekar, a junior engineer of electricity department, was a government servant and that he was on duty on the day of the offence and had gone to the office of the Mr Pacheco was also undisputed.
It has also been submitted that Ms Pol had exceeded her revisionary power in interfering with the concurrent findings of fact arrived at by two courts, which had held that the ingredients of Section 353 IPC had been proved.
Mr Rodrigues has in his petition stated that by releasing Mr Pacheco on admonition, when the incident of assault was by a minister against a public servant, could only be termed as a flea bite sentence and was against all canons of sentencing in a criminal case.
Stating that he was interested that provisions of the law of the land were enforced, Mr Rodrigues has sought that the High Court intervention against the order of the additional sessions judge to secure the ends of justice.
Mr Pacheco was convicted by the then Judicial Magistrate First Class, Margao, Mr D M Kerkar, by an order on April 27, 2011 for an offence under Section 353 of Indian Penal Code and had sentenced him to simple imprisonment for one year and also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000.
Mr Pacheco thereafter filed an appeal against the conviction and sentence before the South Goa assistant sessions judge, Mr Irshad Aga, who by an order on October 5, 2011 upheld the conviction, but reduced the sentence of imprisonment to six months from one year and the fine from Rs 5,000 to Rs 1,500. [NT]