The arrest of Dhada, who posted a comment on Facebook criticising the bandh after the demise of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, and Srinivas who ‘liked’ the post, had outraged the public at large.
Legal experts said the girls could file proceedings for quashing of the FIR filed agianst them under section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 505 (b) (statement conducing to public mischief which may cause fear or alarm and lead a person to commit an offence against the state) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Information Techology Act, 2000.
They were arrested at 8 pm on November 18 and allowed to go home at 2 am on November 19. Later that day, they were granted bail and asked to attend the police station every Wednesday.
“To seek compensation, they will have to move Bombay High Court. They have not said anything about moving the High Court yet,” Gupta said.
The Supreme Court had laid down guidelines in the case of Joginder Singh versus State of Uttar Pradesh, stating that women cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. The guidelines were incorporated in the statute by amending the Section 41 of the Criminal Procedure Code, said criminal lawyer Satish Borulkar.
Gupta said though they were served no notice before arrest, the families of the girls have made no demand for action against the police officers so far. “The Director General of Police has already ordered an inquiry against the officers,” Gupta said.
“I have heard that the other side (the Shiv Sainiks who allegedly attacked the office of Dr A R Dhada, Shaheen’s uncle) want to settle the case filed by the girl’s uncle. But not all the sections they are charged under are compoundable,” Gupta said.
‘Ensure girls are not traumatised’
While people question police action against Shaheen and Rinu, psychiatrists say such an experience could scar the girls for life. “The initial reaction of the girl was of shock and disbelief. Since a family member was also attacked, she might be facing post-traumatic stress and guilt, for which she will have to be counselled,” said Dr Sharita Shah, child and women psychiatrist at Bombay Hospital.
“Many had posted more strongly worded statements but only these girls were targeted,” said psychiatrist Harish Shetty. “Counselling them and allowing them to vent their feelings will ensure that they are not mentally scarred,” he added.