Worried about the number of cases of sexual assault of children in schools and school buses, the Maharashtra State Commission of Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has decided to recommend holding school authorities responsible as conspirators in the crime. The recommendation will soon be made to the state government.
During the hearing on the Bhandup school rape case on Friday, AN Tripathi, secretary of the commission, said, “Cases of sexual assault on children in schools are on the rise. There have been more than 12 such cases in the past two years. Why is it happening?”
In the Bhandup case that took place in December last year, a four-year old kindergarten student was allegedly raped by the supervisor inside the school toilet. Recently, a school bus attendant was arrested for allegedly molesting a four-year-old daughter of a Navy officer over the course of two weeks between January 15 and 28.
Tripathi said this disturbing trend can be curbed only if the police start booking school authorities as conspirators in such cases. “I am planning to pass an order recommending the authorities be held responsible for child abuse in schools,” said Tripathi.
Preventive measures need to be taken to protect children from abuse, said Tripathi. “Schools should sit with the police and NGOs to come up with preventive measures to ensure such incidents do not take place,” he said.
The commission also pulled up the Bhandup police for not filing a charge sheet on the Bhandup school rape case within 60 days, as stipulated under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. “The accused is in judicial custody, but the police have delayed the filing of charge sheet. They are blaming it on the delay in receiving a report from the forensics department in Kalina,” said Tripathi, directing the police to file the charge sheet by Monday.
Meanwhile, the counsel for the school informed the commission the supervisor, who was a contractual employee of the school, has been suspended.