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Karnataka High Court Refuses To Quash POCSO Case Against School Teacher Who 'Removed Student's Pants' As Punishment

Mustafa Plumber
11 Aug 2022 9:15 AM GMT
Karnataka High Court Refuses To Quash POCSO Case Against School Teacher Who Removed Students Pants As Punishment
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The Karnataka High Court has refused to quash a case of sexual harassment registered against a school teacher under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for allegedly beating a 5-year-old student and removing her pants, revealing the body of the child as a measure of punishment.

A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna said,

"Section 11(2) of the POCSO Act mandates that, a person who makes the child exhibit his body or any part of his or her body so as it is seen by any other person, it would amount to sexual harassment under Section 11 of the POCSO Act and become punishable under Section 12 of the POCSO Act. The allegation is that, the petitioner has removed the pants of the child before other students and staff, which has led to the offence so alleged. It is for the petitioner to come out clean of the acts that are narrated in the complaint."

The school teacher had approached the court after the mother of the child had lodged a complaint under sections 323, 342, 109 of the IPC and Sections 11 and 12 of the POCSO Act.

Advocate Sirajuddin Ahmed, appearing for the petitioner submitted that case of child abuse, which is false, is sought to be brought under the provisions of POCSO Act, without there being any semblance of truth in the allegations. Further, the proceedings, if permitted to continue, would become an abuse of the provisions of the POCSO Act. Moreover, the action of the petitioner was only to discipline the child, like any other teacher the petitioner has imposed certain punishment, which cannot be termed as offences under the Act.

Advocate Abhijith K.S for the prosecution submitted the child has been beaten and treated in a manner that would become punishable under Section 11 of the POCSO Act and therefore, it is a matter of trial for the petitioner to come out clean.

Court findings:

The bench went through the complaint and the statement of the victim given to the police to take note of the "horrendous acts" of the petitioner upon the child. It observed,

"The incident of 24.02.2017, which is reported is not the solitary incident according to the complaint, as it was a collective narrative of the incidents that have happened in the school against the victim and several others, by the petitioner-accused."

It added, "If the complaint and the statement is read in tandem, it would demonstrate that the ingredients of the aforesaid offences of the IPC are clearly met."

The Court said that a teacher is expected to guide students of tender age in a tender manner.

"It is unacceptable by any means that a teacher can traumatise a child, be it physical or mental. Traumatising children by teachers as a measure of punishment particularly at tender ages, would have a devastating psychological impact on the child. Children who experience aggressive behaviour or violence from the hands of a teacher often develop emotional and behavioural problems, their cognitive skills diminish and would have far reaching consequences in the psychological blend of a child and would negatively impact the academic performance of the child. The aggression of whatever means of any teacher on the child is unpardonable."

Case Title: THAHSEEN BEGUM @ TASI v STATE OF KARNATAKA

Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 12097 OF 2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 311

Date of Order: 28TH DAY OF JULY, 2022

Appearance: Advocate SIRAJUDDIN AHMED for petitioner; HCGP K.S.ABHIJITH for respondent

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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