A Delhi court has dismissed the application of the then principal of a South Corporation school in Kapashera, requesting that proceedings against her in the death of a five-year-old student be dropped. The principal has been accused under IPC Section 304 A (death due to negligence).
On January 27, 2016, Ankit Kumar had died after he allegedly fell and drowned in an open septic tank at an under-construction building at the MCD primary school. The child had gone to the washroom and is suspected to have accidentally fallen into the tank, police had said.
Police had named four persons — principal Rekha Kakkar, attendant Nirmala Devi, contractor Mange Ram and JE (civil) Lalit Kumar — in the chargesheet filed in court. The accused principal had filed an application to drop proceedings against her.
Kakkar had earlier submitted that she had done her duty properly to ensure safety of students.
According to court records, in her statement to police, she said that in the morning, she took a round of the school and also checked the situation of water, electricity, washroom, etc. She had claimed that the lid of the tank was closed at the time. “There was no negligence on part of the principal, who requires discharge in the case,” her counsel argued.
But Metropolitan Magistrate Himanshu Raman Singh said in his order: “Application filed by Rekha Kakkar for dropping proceedings against her is dismissed.”
The court, while serving notices to the accused, had said that being the principal, she was required for general administration and for safety of students.
“In her statement under section 161 CrPC, she stated that she found the lid of the tank closed. But as per the chargesheet, when police went to the spot, it was found that the lid of the hole of the septic tank was not fitted. The victim fell due to the absence of the lid,” the court had said.
It added that the principal, in her statement, said she also inspected the area after recess. But the court had said: “Negligence on her behalf of proper inspection of the school… cannot be ruled out.”
The court noted that as per the chargesheet, nursery attendant Nirmala Devi took Ankit and other students to the washroom but allegedly failed to look after him. It also noted that the contractor prepared the tank on “verbal asking” by the JE, but did not follow proper safety measures. The JE, too, failed to monitor the tank, court records said.