'Shocked' judge wants child to study

Justice Nadira Patherya of Calcutta High Court was "shocked" to know that the five-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually harassed by two physical instructors at a south Calcutta school about a year ago is yet to be admitted to another school.

By OUR LEGAL REPORTER
  • Published 11.09.18
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Calcutta: Justice Nadira Patherya of Calcutta High Court was "shocked" to know that the five-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually harassed by two physical instructors at a south Calcutta school about a year ago is yet to be admitted to another school.

The judge on Monday asked the school authorities to find out a way so that the child could continue her education.

"It's shocking that the kid cannot continue her studies after the incident," Justice Patherya said while hearing a petition moved by the child's father seeking an investigation by an impartial central agency into the issue.

Justice Patherya asked the school authorities to inform the court by September 14 their decision on her proposal. The judge also asked counsel for the girl's father to let the court know which school would be convenient for her.

The two accused teachers were arrested soon after the alleged incident last December and are being tried under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act (Pocso).

When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Patherya on Monday, advocate Priyanka Tibrewal mentioned a "practical problem" that the girl's father had been facing since last year.

"Ever since the incident, my client's child has not had the opportunity to study in a school. The child could not be sent to her earlier school for obvious reasons. At the same time, it was not possible for my client to admit her to another school by paying a huge sum of money as he had already paid the earlier school all the fees during the child's admission. The school should refund the money to my client," the advocate said.

The judge described it as a "very serious" issue. "It is a fact that the accused has already been arrested and chargesheet submitted, but the point that you have raised today is very serious. The child should continue her education," she said.

Justice Patherya asked the lawyers appearing for the school if the trust running the institution could do something so that the child's academic life was not hampered further. "The trust running the school must have connections in other schools. It should take measures so that the child could continue her study," she said.

The judge wanted to know from counsel appearing for the school if any specific process was followed while appointing teachers and non-teaching staff and what measures were taken by the school authorities for counselling students. The school has been asked to file an affidavit and reply to the query.