Filing the chargesheet in the case of a four-year-old girl allegedly being sexually assaulted by her classmate in a Dwarka school, the Delhi Police has held the school accountable after it “failed to inform or report the matter on time to the police”.
The chargesheet, filed in court on January 15, names the owner of the school, its principal, a teacher and an ayah, Delhi Police sources said. The chargesheet does not name the the four-year-old boy who allegedly sexually assaulted the girl by inserting his finger and a pencil into her private parts at the school on November 17, sources said.
“The police cannot take action against the boy, as an act of a child under seven years of age is not an ‘offence’, as suggested under Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code,” an officer said, adding that the boy has undergone counselling since the incident.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Dwarka) Shibesh Singh confirmed that the chargesheet has been filed under Section 21 of the POCSO Act (failing to report the crime of rape), the punishment for which can be imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and a fine; and Section 75 of the JJ Act (cruelty to child), which can lead to imprisonment for up to three years.
Reacting to the chargesheet, the girl’s mother told The Indian Express, “I am feeling a little relieved. At least half the battle is won. The police have been very cooperative in this case. The school coordinators should also be held accountable, and the principal should be sacked.”
“After the principal has been named in the chargesheet, it becomes the school management’s responsibility to ask her to vacate this position, which demands alertness, empathy and sensitivity more than any academic qualification that she might possess,” the mother added.
Following the incident, the mother had reported the matter to the police and the DCW, alleging that after scanning CCTV footage from the school, she had found negligence on part of the authorities. She alleged that soon after her daughter complained of pain and uneasiness, she took her to the hospital and called the school principal and her teacher, but they did not respond.
Police said that during investigation, the team scanned call detail records of the school teacher and principal, and found that their response to the mother’s calls was not “satisfactory”. Police, in its chargesheet, added that the school did not inform police on time and kept trying to “maintain the school’s dignity and honour”, an officer said.
The principal, when contacted, did not respond to phone calls. The school’s lawyer, who did not wish to be named, said, “We do not comment on this matter.”