After spending 11 years in jail, New Panvel teacher accused of 9-yr-old’s rape acquitted by Bombay HC
Mumbai The Bombay high court (HC) recently cleared a teacher from allegations of raping a nine-year-old student, after he spent about 11 years behind bars.
The division bench of justice Sadhana Jadhav and justice NR Borkar set free the 39-year-old former biology teacher of a New Panvel school and junior college after noticing several discrepancies in the prosecution’s case.
The alleged incident, according to the prosecution, took place on June 21, 2010. The Class 3 student said that when she went to the washroom along with a friend around 4.00pm, a male teacher obstructed her way and took her to the gents’ washroom, where another teacher held her hand and a third one teacher sexually assaulted her.
The biology teacher was arrested the next day. He was prosecuted for the crime and convicted by an additional sessions judge at Alibag on November 23, 2013, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The next year he moved HC, through advocate Shine Kamaluddin Mohammed, against the verdict. On March 22, HC allowed his appeal, primarily after noticing that though the child was sexually assaulted by someone, there was no evidence to link the biology teacher to the heinous crime.
HC noted that the child had initially disclosed to her parents that it was her drawing teacher who had sexually assaulted her, but when on the next day after the incident she went to the school with Kalamboli police for identifying the accused, she pointed at the photograph of another teacher, as the person who assaulted her. However, her mother maintained that she knew the other teacher and was sure that he would not commit such an act.
The child was then shown the photograph of the biology teacher, who was arrested after the nine-year nodded in affirmative.
HC, however, noticed that on the date of the incident, the biology teacher had been to the school at 7.30am, and left at 3.00pm, and nobody had seen him in the institute thereafter.
Besides, HC also noted that the doctor, who had examined the child, had categorically opined that there was evidence to suggest she was habituated to sexual activity, and was taking some medication prescribed by a private gynaecologist, almost a year prior to the incident.