SC issues notice on school teacher’s plea against conviction in sexual assault of student
New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court has issued a notice on a plea of a school teacher against a Madras High Court order, which upheld his conviction and sentence for sexual assault on his student, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh said: “Applications for exemption from filing c/c of the impugned judgment and official translation are allowed. Learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the statement of the victim under Section 164 of CrPC is not substantive evidence but that alone has been used to convict the petitioner when all the witnesses have turned hostile.”
It added, “Issue notice on the Special Leave Petition as well as on the prayer for bail.”
The trial court had convicted the petitioner for the offences under POCSO Act and Section 506(i) of the IPC and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment. The accused challenged the trial court order in the high court, which upheld his conviction and sentence in October last year.
The prosecution had argued that the accused was a teacher in the victim’s school. In 2019, it was alleged that the accused, during lunch break, took the victim to a deserted lane close to the school building and committed sexual assault.
The accused had argued before the court that the victim’s statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 cannot be considered as solid evidence to convict him.
The high court noted that in this matter, the victim claimed the accused took her to a lane and committed the sexual assault, which was not penetrative.
In October last year, the high court, in a separate matter, had reversed the acquittal of a school teacher in Puducherry, by a trial court, facing charges of sexually assaulting a minor student.
The high court had sentenced the accused to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 10,000.
“The victim, being a child, who was only about four years at the time of the incident, cannot speak about the occurrence in all the stages by parrot version. It cannot be expected from the victim that she should remember all the incidents and the acts of the accused,” the high court had noted in this matter.