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Female tutor in Kolkata gets six months in jail for thrashing three-year-old boy

The additional chief judicial magistrate of Bidhannagar found Pooja Singh, who is in her early thirties, guilty under section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) and sections 323 and 341 of IPC.

kolkata Updated: Jul 24, 2018 20:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Kolkata,Bidhannagar,Juvenile Justice Act
In CCTV footage, Pooja Singh was allegedly seen kicking the child in the chest, hurling him head first on the bed and punching him on the face. (HT REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

A court has sent a private tutor in Kolkata to six months in jail and slapped a fine of Rs 1,000 for beating a three-and-a-half-year-old boy. The incident took place in a house in Lake Town area in the northern fringes of Kolkata on July 22, 2014.

The additional chief judicial magistrate of Bidhannagar found Pooja Singh, who is in her early thirties, guilty under section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) and sections 323 and 341 of Indian Penal Code.

Section 23 of IPC pertains to assault, while section 323 of IPC pertains to voluntarily causing hurt and section 341 is applicable to wrongful restraint.

The court, however, granted Singh bail. Indrakanta Jha, her counsel said she would appeal against the verdict in Calcutta high court.

Read: Corporal punishment is no way to treat a child in or outside the classroom

“We were handicapped because family of the victim did not provide us with the CCTV footage in which the alleged crime was captured. Yet we managed to argue our case with 11 witnesses, circumstantial evidence and version of the victim. Conviction under JJA section 23 is very rare,” said Bivas Chatterjee, special public prosecutor for the state government.

“Pooja Singh was given a six-month prison sentence under section 323 of IPC, one month under section 341 of IPC and six months under JJA. However, the terms will run simultaneously,” added Chatterjee.

The video of the incident went viral in the last week of July 2014. Singh was in a room with the child. She was seen kicking the child in the chest at least twice, hurling him head first on the bed and punching him on the face indiscriminately even as the kid screamed and wanted to go back to his mother.

The child’s mother said the tutor was hired only three days before the incident.

Read: Thrashed by maths teacher, student attempts suicide in Ludhiana

For two days the child refused to study with the new tutor and he was visibly scared. On the third day, Singh urged the parents to leave her alone with the child.

“The mother and elder sister of the child were in another room and they heard the shrieks of the child. The house had CCTV cameras in every room. After the child’s mother saw her son being assaulted, she went to his rescue,” said Chatterjee.

“When I confronted the tutor she apologised and urged me not to lodge a complaint with police. Later, her husband came and threatened me, saying if I approached the police the outcome would not be good for us,” the boy’s mother alleged in 2014.

Read: Kalyan: Teacher assaults 11-yr-old boy with wooden stick

Jha pointed out that the FIR was registered under sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 379 (theft) of IPC and section 23 of JJ Act. “However, the police filed chargesheet under sections 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of IPC and section 23 of JJ Act. While section 379 of IPC offers life imprisonment as maximum punishment, it is a seven-year term under section 325 of IPC,” said Jha.

The judge, however, convicted the accused under different sections the maximum punishment under which are six months of imprisonment.

“We’ll file a defamation suit if my client is acquitted by the high court,” Jha said.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 20:17 IST