April 14, 2021 10:33:53 pm
A 52-year-old teacher at a zilla parishad school in Raigad was cleared of charges of sexually harassing three minor students, four years after he was booked. The special court that acquitted the man earlier this month said there were inconsistencies in the statements of the students who made the allegations, while one of them had been tutored by another class teacher.
The 52-year-old was the headmaster of a school at a village in Raigad district. In 2017, based on the complaint of a girl studying in Class VI, an FIR was filed against him under Section 354 (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The first complainant, studying in Class VI, claimed that since her class teacher was absent on the day of the incident, the accused was assigned to teach her class. He had given them an assignment and, since she could not finish it, she was asked to stay back and complete it. The girl claimed that the accused then touched her inappropriately and passed a sexual remark against her.
The court took into account the girls’ testimonies, their mothers, other staff members and the investigating officer. The court said the foundation of the case was shaken after it was proven that the girl’s claim that her class teacher was absent was false as the attendance register showed that he was present that day.
The court also said the class teacher’s statement was not taken. It also said police had not seized the notebook in which the victim was made to write the assignment, calling it “important evidence”.
The court also said evidence showed that the witnesses said they had filed the complaint based on the insistence of another staffer with a grudge against the accused. “The entire case of the prosecution creates great doubt whether, in fact, the incident actually occurred in the school… The foundational facts are not proved beyond all reasonable doubt. Accused deserves (to be) acquitted,” the court said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.