Madras High Court: P. Velmurugan, J., 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.
On the date of occurrence, when PW 2, the victim girl was going to attend School while crossing the appellant’s residence, the appellant/accused invited her to his house and with an intent to assault her sexually saying that he will tell the story of Jesus, sexually assaulted her.
It was stated that the appellant 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.
In view of the above set of circumstances, the present case was registered against the appellant.
Victim girl stated that after the above-stated occurrence she went to her classroom and intimated the same to her friend who was examined as PW 7 and she clearly spoke about the offence committed by the appellant.
It was noted that the age of the victim girl was 12 years at the time of occurrence and hence the victim was a child under the definition of Section 2(1)(d) of POCSO Act.
High Court stated that the appellant 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 appellant came under Section 9(f) punishable under Section 10 of the 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. Trial Court rightly appreciated the evidence of the prosecution and came to the conclusion that appellant/accused committed an offence under Section 9(1) punishable under Section 10 of the POCSO Act.
Bench dismissed the criminal appeal and upheld the trial Court’s decision.
High Court’s recommendation
Further, the Court 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. [S. Jayaseelan v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 2580, decided on 12-07-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
For Appellant: Mr S. Samuel Raja Pandian for M/s. M.K. Selvakumar
For Respondent: Mrs T.P. Savitha Government Advocate (Crl.Side)