When 10-year-old Punita Mistri’s case came up for hearing at a Bolpur court on Monday, the courtroom was packed and a small crowd had gathered outside as well. Cheers went up when the court charged the hostel warden Uma Poddar for negligent act likely to spread disease and wrongful punishment.
‘Guilty’ of bedwetting, Punita, a student of Patha Bhavan — the residential school of Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan — had been forced to drink her own urine by Poddar on Saturday.
When the child’s parents stormed the hostel premises upon being informed about the incident, they were arrested by the local police for trespassing.
On Monday, the court rapped police as well as university officials for being lenient on Poddar and arresting the child’s parents, who it said, were behaving according to the “natural human instinct”.
The court also instructed the university pay for Punita’s treatment, if she needed any, and specified that it was to be deducted from Poddar’s salary.
The court wanted to know from university officials why they did not file any written complaint against Poddar.
The court observed that stricter charges should have been brought against Poddar, so as to serve as a warning against future offenders against students in educational institutions.
Additional chief judicial magistrate Pijush Kanti Ghosh termed the incident “condemnable”. He also expressed reservations over rising incidents of physical and mental torture on students across the state.