A railway magistrate court chose to release a 43-year-old man on a bond of good behaviour instead of sentencing him, after finding him guilty of posing as a policeman and trying to extract a fine from a railway commuter in 2013.
The magistrate had found the Matunga resident Joseph Khandagale guilty of offence under Sec 170 of the IPC dealing with personating as a public servant, punishable with upto two years imprisonment.
In the incident that had taken place on September 4, 2013, the informant Mohammad Shaikh was stopped by Khandagale while he was crossing the railway tracks to go from platform no 8 to platform no 4 of Kurla railway station. Shaikh wanted to go to Bandra to work and was running late and thus had chosen to cross the tracks, he had told the court. He deposed further that a man dressed in a blue safari and black shoes identified himself as a policeman while stopping and asking him to pay a fine. He said he had told Khandagale that he did not have the money and requested to forgive him. At that time, two persons in civil clothes approached them and asked what the matter was. They were on-duty policemen. Realizing this Khandagale tried to flee, but they caught him.
The court said in its judgment that the accused pretended to be a policeman though he was not holding such office and attempted to recover a fine, thus finding him guilty of the offence.
Khandagale’s advocate had sought that he be extended benefit of Probation of Offenders Act. Metropolitan Magistrate VP Kedar said in his order, while deciding the punishment, that nothing was recovered from the informant by the accused nor was any loss caused to him and that he was apprehended when he attempted the act. It also noted that the punishment for the offence is not death or life imprisonment and there is no evidence that he is convicted in any other case.
“Considering the nature of the offence, character of the offender and the peculiar facts of the case, it would be expedient to release him on probation of good conduct instead of sentencing him at once to any punishment,” magistrate Kedkar said. The court ordered him to keep good behaviour for a period of one year or that he will be called by it to face a sentence.