Justice P. Velmurugan directs Schools to keep a complaint box to make the victims complain about the sexual assault freely and keys of the same to be kept under the control of Secretary District Legal Services Authority.
The victim girl aged 12 years was going to attend School while crossing the accused’s residence, the accused invited her to his house and sexually assaulted her.
It was stated that the accused allegedly touched the victim girl all over her body, removed the bottom of Churidar, embarrassed her and kissed her in right cheek with sexual intent, which involved physical contact without penetration and further the accused threatened the victim girl to come to his house with an intention to repeat the same on her.
High Court stated that the accused being the head of Religious Institution committed sexual assault on the victim child, who was aged about 12 years at the time of occurrence. Hence the act of the accused came under Section 9(f) (Sexual Assault committed by the staff of a religious institute) punishable under Section 10 (Punishment for Aggravated Sexual Assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (“POCSO Act”)
Court on perusal of the evidence produced, opined that the accused failed to rebut the presumption under Section 29 and 30 of the POCSO Act and thus, dismissed the criminal appeal and upheld the trial Court’s conviction.
High Court’s Recommendation
The Court further expressed that normally female students would get fear in lodging complaints against Teacher or Management of School regarding sexual offences, considering their future, hence Government of Tamil Nadu shall form a committee at every school, consisting of the Social Welfare Officer, the Secretary of District Legal Services Authorities, female Police Official not below the rank of District Superintendent of Police, District Educational Officer, female Psychiatrist and Physician from the Government Hospital.
District Educational Officer may inspect the school once in a month to get grievance of the female students with regard to sexual assault and give confidence to the female children to come forward to make complaints against the sexual offenders, who may be a teaching or non-teaching staff and also the members of the Management of the School.
– Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – POSH at Work