Updated: December 7, 2021 11:30:05 am
A Delhi court on Monday discharged the vice principal of a private school based in Delhi Cantt for allegedly making casteist remarks against an employee of the school noting that the complainant failed to reveal that there was an intentional insult with an intent to humiliate the victim at a place within public view.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana discharged the accused, who is a woman, under sections of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act noting that the investigating officer of the case tried to “fill up the lacunae” in the case by filing a supplementary chargesheet.
“In my considered opinion, in order to invoke section 3 (1) (r) of SC/CT (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the complaint should bare minimum reveal that there was intentional insult or intimidation by a person, who is not a member of SC or ST community and the insult must be with an intent to humiliate the victim at a place within public view,” court said.
The complainant, who is also a woman staffer at the school, alleged that she was subjected to harassment and atrocities by the accused on account of her caste. Though the complaint was filed on December 1, 2018, the police had registered an FIR after a four-month delay.
The prosecution had also relied on several school employees, who were witnesses in this case.
The defence counsel had forcefully argued that due to the “pressure of SC/ST Commission, the police has filed the chargesheet, which is result of botched up investigation.”
They argued that the “alleged complaint is in fact cooked up at the behest of delinquent and indisciplined employees as the accused herein, being the Head of the Institution, has attempted to chastise the indisciplined employees.”
They submitted that the “complaint in itself is a motivated document as disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the eyewitnesses and the complainant for their conduct at the instance of the accused.” The accused was exonerated in departmental proceedings, the defence counsel said.
Additional Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmad argued that the “complainant has alleged that she was continuously harassed by the accused in the month of October 2018 in front of her office and in school ground.”
Ahmad specifically pointed out that the complainant has alleged that the accused used specific caste-related words to humiliate the complainant in full public gaze.
However, the court noted that the allegations levelled against the accused by the complainant are “too general, vague and omnibus.”
It also noted that the complaint fails to specify the exact date, time, place and omits to reveal the specifics of the alleged offence.
“It merely makes a general allegation that for past two years, complainant has been harassed by the accused using caste-related words against her. It neither mentions the specific words which offended her nor she mentions that when and where the accused used these words and in whose presence, she was intentionally humiliated by the accused,” the court noted.
On the police investigation, the court noted, “The subsequent endeavour by the Investigating Officer to fill up the lacunae by recording supplementary statement of the victim or other persons to fill up the gaps, would not cure the incurable defect in the initial complaint, which is an embryonic document.
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