While hearing arguments on the Ryan student’s death, Metropolitan Magistrate Ambika Singh said both the school administrator and principal had tried to shift responsibility to one another, and that even the other accused, including the gardener, supervisor, pump operator and class teacher, were shrugging responsibilities.
“All accused persons, in fact, omitted to take care as a reasonable person would be expected to do… All accused persons ought to have taken precaution in their own capacity as per their duty — that such a place must not remain easily accessible to children,” Singh said.
Here’s what the six named in the Delhi Police chargesheet had to say:
Francis Thomas, administrator: Police said he ran the school without a completion certificate for the building, or installing signages outside the pump room. Thomas argued that the ‘charter of duty’ shows that the principal heads the school, and it is her responsibility to conduct regular inspection to ensure safety of children.
Sandhya Sabu, principal: Police said she was “apparently” required to ensure safety of children and is deemed to have failed. Sabu argued that the administrator is the head of the school and duties of maintenance, inspection and water management come under him.
Meenakshi Kapoor, class teacher: Police said she failed to notice the child was absent. Kapoor argued that she
is responsible for what is happening in class, and is not responsible for what happens outside.
Puran Singh Bisht, maintenance in-charge: Police said he failed to ensure that the pump room was locked, but Bisht argued that it is not his job.
Ram Narayan, gardener: Police said his responsibility was to tell the pump operator to lock the door of the pump room after use, but Narayan, too, said he was just the gardener, and this was not his role.
Yogesh Kumar, pump operator: Police said it was his duty to keep the pump room locked before and after use, but he failed in his duty. Kumar argued that he had locked the room and the keys were handed over to the gardener, and he had access to the keys. So it must the gardener who left the door unlocked, he claimed.