BY VIVEK GUPTA
The Chandigarh Commission for the Protection of Child Rights on Saturday recommended lodging of an FIR against the administrator of the Stepping Stones Senior Secondary School, Sector 38, and its bus contractor under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act 2012 for “mishandling” the incident involving alleged sexual assault of a five-year-old kindergarten student by a bus conductor.
The offence under Section 19, read with Section 21 (2), of the POCSO Act attracts imprisonment up to one year and fine.
The commission ruled that schools in Chandigarh would be responsible for the safety of children, both inside the school as well as inside the buses.
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The commission held that the POSCO Act prescribed filing of a police complaint within 24 hours of such an incident, but this was not done by school administrator Sanjiv Kumar and bus contractor Amrik Singh when the matter was brought to their notice by the parents last week.
Police IG R P Upadhyaya, to whom the commission sent its recommendation, could not be reached. SSP S S Gill said he had not received the communication but appropriate action would be taken on its recommendations.
Commission chairperson Devi Sirohi told Newsline that both the administrator and the bus operator showed callousness and insensitivity in the matter and this had been established in their investigation.
“The commission has the mandate of implementing the POCSO Act, therefore, we are sure of action,” she said.
The commission took the statements of the administrator and the bus contractor yesterday, the girl’s parents were heard today.
Sources said administrator Sanjiv Kumar told the commission that the parents were initially reluctant to file a complaint.
The parents, however, said they had been pressing for action against the conductor since Monday but the administrator was adamant on a written complaint. He did this even as school counsellor is said tohave told him that the girl had described how the conductor behaved with her.
The parents told the commission that the school was forced to report the matter when they made a commotion in the school. The conductor was then arrested.