Taking note of the recent rape of a nine-year-old girl at her school in Dadar, the Bombay High Court Monday asked the state Education Department to reply on the checks and vigilance arrangements in schools and if the state can make installation of CCTV cameras in state-aided schools mandatory.
Justices N H Patil and A A Sayed were hearing a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) over women’s safety and sought to know from the state government the steps it was taking to ensure that such incidents do not occur in future.
The minor was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 20-year-old catering staff in the school premises on Friday night.
The Shivaji Park police has registered a case against the accused, Somnath Yadav, under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (pertaining to punishment for rape) and under Sections 1, 2, 4 and 8 of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Terming the incident “disturbing”, the court said parents send children to school with the faith that the school authorities and teachers would take care of them. “Periodical vigilance is required,” the court suggested.
It also said that CCTVs must be installed inside school premises. The court has asked the state government to make CCTV installation mandatory for those schools that receive grants from the government.
The girl, who lives with her mother and aunt, was attending the school’s annual day function on Friday which began at 12.30 pm and ended around 5.45 pm. She missed the last BEST bus, specially arranged for students, which had left the school soon after the function got over.
According to the school principal, she was found alone by her class teacher around 6 pm.
The HC will hear the matter again on January 22 and take up the state’s affidavit in reply.
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