The Bombay High Court Wednesday refused bail to a man, arrested last year after a video showing two boys being beaten up and paraded naked for allegedly trying to pilfer a snack item went viral.
Justice AM Badar rejected the appeal filed by Irfan Pathan, one of the three accused. Pathan had moved the high court after the trial court rejected his bail plea.
The offence was a very serious and there was ample evidence against the accused, the judge noted.
The accused has been charged with a "worst form of child abuse", the court said.
Further, the accused has been charged under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), and considering the rise in offences under these laws, it was imperative that the courts take serious view in such cases, the judge said.
"It is the duty of every citizen to protect and preserve self-respect and honour of members belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. However, of late there has been constant increase in commission of atrocities against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes," Justice Badar said.
"By such hateful acts, self-image, prestige and dignity of members of the Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes is lost. In the instant case, the chargesheet projects the worst form of child abuse," he said.
In May last year, police in neighbouring Thane district arrested Pathan, 25, his brother Tavakal, 20, and their father Mehmood, 69, after the video of the torture of two children went viral.
The video was allegedly shot by the accused themselves.
The three men allegedly thrashed two nine-year-old boys from a scheduled caste community for trying to pilfer a piece of 'chakli' (a savoury) from their shop in Ulhasnagar town.
The accused tonsured the boys' heads and paraded them naked in the locality with a garland of chappals around their necks, as per the police case.
In his appeal, Pathan had argued that he had already served 17 months as an undertrial, so he should be released on bail.
The high court, however, rejected the plea.