While granting bail to a man accused of assaulting and hurling casteist slurs at an 18-year-old Class X student, a Sessions court here has come across another side to the story.
The student allegedly stalked and harassed his 35-year-old teacher forcing her to reveal this to her family. Her husband and brother then allegedly assaulted the student. Both sides filed criminal cases with non-bailable charges against each other.
The teacher’s complaint had alleged trespassing and molestation. But, for reasons best known to them, the police had not followed her case with the same passion that it reserved for the student, on whose complaint it had arrested the teacher’s brother.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said: “I am shocked at the manner in which the senior (police) officers of the district have inappropriately handled this case relating to sensitive issues in most unprofessional manner. Both the FIRs read together bring out the truth and the circumstances leading to the events which perhaps the investigating agency appeared to have deliberately ignored.”
The court directed the Joint Commissioner of Police to ensure that both the FIRs are investigated through officers sensitised on issues relating to crime against women and also on psychology of youngsters. The court said that since FIRs relate to circumstances and events closely linked with each other they should, henceforth, be taken up together. “I am hopeful that with the intervention and supervision of the senior officers the investigations, which till now appeared to be biased, tilted and one sided, would be more independent, transparent and objective,” Ms. Lau said.
The judge said the case was an eye-opener bringing to the foreground issues relating to the safety, security and dignity of the female teachers particularly of those in senior classes of boys’ schools. “The peculiar facts in the present case relate to issues connected with sexual harassment at workplace (may not be strictly covered under the Vishakha Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court). It is the State which is required to take steps to address this problem so as to ensure that the safety, security and dignity of these teachers (particularly the female teachers) are not compromised in any manner.’’
The court also noted that the teacher’s father had submitted that his daughter had slipped into depression as a result of the “embarrassment” suffered in the aftermath of the cases. Her brother was in judicial custody for almost a month.
The court also said it would be desirable that the Director of Education, Education Department, Delhi Government, sensitise teachers on the problems young teenagers face and address these through holding regular workshops and seminars. The teacher had complained to the principal and the boy’s mother was also summoned to school.