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Madhya Pradesh High Court refuses to quash case against advocate for advising POCSO accused

Madhya Pradesh High Court refuses to quash case against advocate for advising POCSO accused

Written by Shaurya Mahajan

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Hiralal Dhurve v. The State of Madhya Pradesh and others, dismissed a revision petition filed by an advocate charged for advising his rape accused clients and the prosecutrix to hide material facts from the police and courts.

The lawyer had been charged under Sections 19 and 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 by the IV Additional Sessions Judge & Special Judge (POCSO Act), Mandla.

According to these provisions any person who has an apprehension that an offence under the Act has been committed, and fails to disclose the same, shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment of up to six months.

It was observed by Justice Sanjay Dwivedi that there is no infirmity in the order passed by the lower court.

The applicant had approached the high court to set aside an order passed by a Special Judge on January 13, 2021. In the order, the court had framed charges against him as well as his accused clients for the rape of a minor.

It was alleged against the lawyer that he had told the accused to hide facts from the police and further advised the minor to say that no wrong had been committed.

The applicant was represented by Advocate HS Verma while the state was represented by Government Advocate AD Bajpai.

The counsel for the applicant contended that nothing illegal had been done by the lawyer, whose duty was to advise his clients and build a defence of their case. Therefore, no offence is made out, and the trial court had erred in framing the charges against him under Sections 19 and 21 of the POCSO Act.

On the other hand, the counsel for the state argued that the recorded statement of the prosecutrix made it clear that the applicant, after knowing of the offence committed by the accused persons, advised her not to disclose facts to the police. It was further pointed out that the prosecutrix had never reached out to or contacted the applicant for any legal assistance.

The court after hearing both parties found no infirmity in the order passed by the lower court and dismissed the plea accordingly.

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