Sexual assault of 3-yr-old at school: Delhi govt tells HC it has zero tolerance towards such abuse

Criminal proceedings have been initiated against a “cleaner” at a Delhi school accused of sexually assaulting a three-year-old girl, the Delhi High Court was informed on Friday.

The city government asserted it has “zero tolerance policy” involving such incidents.

The Delhi government counsel told a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma that an FIR was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) ACT. Investigation is underway and a charge sheet will be filed soon, the lawyer told the court.

A three-and-half-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at a school in south Delhi’s Panchsheel Enclave, police had said on August 3.

The court was hearing a PIL it had initiated on its own following the incident.

Delhi government lawyer Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted there was a need to establish a permanent child safety monitoring committee to ensure the standards set by the authorities are duly implemented by schools.

“They must go to all schools in the city and ensure the check-list is complied. A permanent child safety monitoring committee should be constituted…This incident should not happen,” he submitted.

The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjeev Narula, asked Tripathi to suggest names of officials and independent persons who could be appointed on the committee while mooting the idea of having one retired judge as part of the panel.

Tripathi urged the court to pass an order constituting the committee.

With respect to the incident, he said CCTV footage has been sent for forensic analysis and charge sheet was being vetted.

Advocate Arun Panwar also appeared for the Delhi government.

In a status report, the SHO concerned submitted that the accused was arrested on August 3 and sent to judicial custody.

“The draft challan is being prepared under sections 376/376AB/377/376C IPC and sections 6/10/12 POCSO Act,” the report said.

The Directorate of Education (DoE), in its status report, said it has issued various circulars and guidelines to schools regarding safety and security of students, including organising awareness camps.

“DoE, GNCTD has a zero tolerance policy towards child sexual abuse or sexual harassment or any such issue related to the safety and security of the students of the schools.. all such matters are undertaken by DOE with utmost sincerity, sensitivity and empathy with zero tolerance for such incidents,” the report said.

It said the services of the accused have been terminated and police verification of all school staff has been mandated.

The school was in violation of the safety guidelines and a show cause notice has been issued to it, DoE added.

“It is the obligation of the schools concerned to ensure compliance of directions issued by DoE or any law enforcing agency qua safety and security of the students studying in their respective school. However, on perusal of the facts of the instant case it seems that the school in question failed to adhere to guidelines,” the status report said.

The status report stated that to ensure safety of students CCTV cameras have been installed in government schools.

“The DoE has installed CCTVs in 651 school buildings out of 728. However, no live streaming from CCTV have been started till date and SoP in respect of live streaming are yet to be finalised,” it added.

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On August 8, the high court had taken automatic cognisance of the incident of alleged sexual assault of the minor school girl and directed that a public interest litigation be registered on that basis.

On August 1, at 11.46 am, a PCR call was received at Hauz Khas police station regarding child abuse at a school near Chirag Delhi flyover in Panchsheel Enclave, a senior police officer had said.

The police visited the school and met the minor and her aunt. The victim alleged that she was sexually abused by a cleaner — Arjun Kumar (33) — who works at the school.

She had told her mother that Arjun used to ogle at her when she went to the washroom and sexually assaulted her, police said. A case under sections 376 (rape) and 377 (unnatural offences) of the Indian Penal Code and section 6 of the POCSO Act was registered against the accused.

The accused, a resident of Old Gautam Budh Nagar in UP, was arrested and sent to judicial custody.

The matter will be heard next on September 21.

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