The Delhi High Court has directed the police to file a status report on a plea by the principal and two teachers of a private school here seeking the quashing of FIR against them for allegedly treating a 3-year-old student cruelly.
Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice to the Delhi Police, father of the victim and the school-based in Dwarka on the petition and listed the matter for further hearing on December 6.
The police has initially lodged an FIR in October last year under the POCSO Act for the alleged offence of sexual assault on the complaint of the child’s father that the minor was abused by a male attendant of the school.
However, the police officials could not apprehend or identify the alleged offender till June this year, the plea claimed.
The police officials then issued notices to the principal, child’s class teacher and another teacher of the school alleging that an offence of cruelty to the minor under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act was made out against them.
As per section 75 of the JJ Act, ‘Whoever, having the actual charge of, or control over, a child, assaults, abandons, abuses, exposes or wilfully neglects the child or causes or procures the child to be assaulted, abandoned, abused, exposed or neglected in a manner likely to cause such child unnecessary mental or physical suffering, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine of one lakh rupees or with both.’
Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, representing the principal and teachers, contended that even under the provision the person who is entrusted with the care and protection can only be punished, which would be the concerned teacher responsible at the relevant time, and it cannot be extended to the head mistress or the class teacher who were not personally present when the alleged incident took place.
The plea said the notices were issued against them by the police to make them scape goats which amounts to gross abuse of process of law.
It claimed that even if the allegations in the FIR are considered to be true, none of the ingredients of any cognisable offence under section 75 of the JJ Act is made out against them.
The plea said there was no allegation against them in the FIR and the child was still studying in the same school which indicates the safety measures provided there.