A school teacher booked for “assault with a dangerous weapon” for allegedly hitting a six-year-old student with a “wooden ruler” has moved the Bombay High Court urging it to quash the criminal complaint filed against her.
While contesting the criminal charges pressed against her, the 26-year-old teacher has denied having hit the student at all, saying the child was hurt after a classroom desk fell on her leg. Hearing the case on Tuesday, Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode, cited examples of foreign nations stating laws abroad were so stringent that even parents could be sent behind bars if they beat their child.
According to the petition, filed by Michelle Antony through her lawyer Anil Lalla, the alleged incident took place on January 7, 2014. The minor girl, studying in St Columbia School, Grant Road (W), went back home and allegedly told her parents she was hit on her legs by Antony, her teacher.
The following day, the girl’s parents took her to J J Hospital for medical tests and later, her mother and grandmother visited the school and met principal Annette Lobo, the petition stated. Antony said the principal immediately summoned her to her office, where she denied the allegations and insisted that any of the minor girl’s classmates be enquired with. According to the petition, one of the classmates when enquired, said the girl had a fall.
Antony, however, alleged in the petition that the student’s grandmother held the collar of one of her classmates and “menacingly asked her to say that the minor was hit by a ruler”. Subsequently, the family filed a criminal complaint and an FIR was registered against Antony under Section 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means)of IPC read with section 23 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.
Antony was arrested on January 10, 2014 and produced before a magistrate court . She was released on bail the same day. “The Gamdevi police station have included a ‘wooden ruler’ in the definition of a dangerous weapon as provided under Section 324 of IPC and shown its alleged recovery under section 27 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which defies logic and common sense,” Antony said.
The court has posted the matter for further hearing on July 3.