Your Preschool’s or School’s Teaching Staff, Non-Teaching Staff, Casual Worker, Contractual Worker or even Outsider (who is on visit to your campus) is accused of Child’s Physical, Mental or Sexual abuse. Now, what does the ‘Law’ requires you to do?

Your Preschool’s or School’s Teaching Staff, Non-Teaching Staff, Casual Worker, Contractual Worker or even Outsider (who is on visit to your campus) is accused of Child’s Physical, Mental or Sexual abuse. Now, what does the ‘Law’ requires you to do?

First of all, let’s begin from popular Latin maxim, which means ‘Ignorance of law does not excuse’.

So, when the law catches with you, it is presumed that you were aware about what we are going to tell you in this discussion. This position of Law is ‘settled’.

First Part of the Case Study is –

You are working as a Principal, Administrator, Teacher, Chairman, Board Member, Non-Teaching assignments etc., whatsoever, in a Preschool or School. You came to know that there is one or more than one student, being exploited / harassed by any one of your co-worker, senior or any member of School / Preschool, what you shall do in such a position. Rightly put, what does the Law requires you to do in such situation.

Discussion –

Sec. 39 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), deals with ‘Public to give information of certain offences’. It states that ‘Every person, aware of the commission of, or of the intention of any other person to commit, any offence punishable under any of the following sections of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), namely:- [and then this Section has sub-section (I) to (xii)], after that it continues –

shall, in the absence of any reasonable excuse, the burden of proving which excuse shall lie upon the person so aware, forthwith give information to the nearest Magistrate or police officer of such commission or intention.

So, understand that The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) is a procedural law and this Section is giving us a “concept”, and this “concept” can be very well applied to our ‘case study’. This section has covered the grievous offences.

Thus, if “you came to know”, you shall immediately report it to your nearest ‘police station incharge’.

Sec. 19 (1) of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 requires you to report it to –

(a) the Special Juvenile Police Unit, or

(b). the local police

Sec. 19 (1) of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 – “Notwithstanding anything contained in The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, any person 9including the child), who has apprehension that an offence under this Act is likely to be committed or has knowledge that such an offence has been committed, he shall provide such information to, –

(a) the Special Juvenile Police Unit, or

(b). the local police

Also, see Sec. 21 (1) of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 – Any person, who fails to report the commission of an offence under sub-section (1) of section 19 or section 20 or who fails to record such offence under sub-section (2) of section 19 shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extend to six months or with fine or with both.

And, see Sec. 21 (2) of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 – Any person, being in-charge of any company or an institution (by whatever name called) who fails to report the commission of an offence under sub-section (1) of section 19 in respect of a subordinate under his control, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine.

Thus, if “you came to know”, you shall immediately report it to your nearest ‘police station incharge’.

Second Part of the Case Study is –

(please read the First Part of the Case Study, and then continue with this part) – you have a child in front of you which needs cleaning / care, say like cleaning of blood or other excretes, what shall be done?

Discussion –

The child needs medical attention, so Law requires you to immediately call the ‘Registered Medical Practitioner’. ‘Destruction of Evidence’ is a punishable offence, so resist yourself from doing anything otherwise. Do not try doing anything in the garb of ‘cleaning’ or ‘taking care of the child’.

Sec. 27 (1) of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, states –

The medical examination of a child in respect of whom any offence has been committed under this Act, shall notwithstanding that a First Information Report or complaint has not been registered for the offences under this Act, be conducted in accordance with section 164A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Also see Sec. 27 (3) of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 –

The medical examination shall be conducted in the presence of the parent of the child or any other person in whom the child reposes trust or confidence.

So, if “you have the victim”, do not do anything which may interfere with the process of law or destroy the evidence. Call the parents and Medical officer simultaneously and immediately.

Third Part of the Case Study is –

(please read the First and Second Part of the Case Study, and then continue with this part) – you called up the doctor / hospital and they are not responding?

Discussion –

Section 166-B of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 comes to your help –

Punishment for non-treatment of victim – Whoever, being in charge of a hospital, public or private, whether run by the Central Government, the State Government, local bodies or any other person, contravenes the provisions of Section 357-C of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.

So, if “you have the victim”, none can refuse medical care. (medical institution / medical officer just need to inform police officer).

Fourth Part of the Case Study is –

(please read the First, Second and Third Part of the Case Study, and then continue with this part) – you ‘knew’ of the incident and you have a fear that ‘perpetrator’ may escape the school premises, or you ‘knew’ of the incident, but you do not know of the ‘perpetrator’, but ‘perpetrator’ may be inside the school’s premises.

Discussion –

Under Section 43 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, you may arrest the ‘perpetrator’.

If such situation demands, you may also immediately do an ‘entire entry and exit seal’ of the school’s premises. You may also put the ‘perpetrator’ in an isolated room and lock it.

Section 43 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 states –

Arrest by private person and procedure on such arrest –

(1) Any private person may arrest or cause to be arrested any person who in his presence commits a non-bailable and cognizable offence, or any proclaimed offender, and, without unnecessary delay, shall make over or cause to be made over any person so arrested to a police officer, or, in the absence of a police officer, take such person or cause him to be taken in custody to the nearest police station.

So, you may arrest the ‘perpetrator’.

Fifth Part of the Case Study is –

(please read the First, Second, Third and Fourth Part of the Case Study, and then continue with this part) – You ‘know’ of the incident and your seniors / chairman directs you to be ‘keep quiet’ about it or ‘hush up’ the matter.

Discussion –

You are not ‘allowed by law’ to stop yourself from ‘doing’ what has been discussed above.

You might also go under ‘abetment’, ‘concealment’, ‘destruction of evidence’ and be liable under several other provisions. As a citizen, we are required to do ‘what law requires us to do’

So, under any condition, you cannot ‘not report’ the matter. You have to report the matter immediately.

Sixth Part of the Case Study is –

(please read the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Part of the Case Study, and then continue with this part) – ‘Incident’ has been reported to police officer, investigation is under process, my Chairman / senior / boss wants me to desist from such process .

Discussion –

Police officer will call you under Section 160 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. And, under Section 161 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, police officer will examine you.

Section 160 (1) of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 states –

Police officer’s power to require attendance of witnesses – (1) Any police officer making an investigation under this Chapter may, by order in writing, require the attendance before himself of any person bing within the limits of his own or any adjoining station who, from the information given or otherwise, appears to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case; and such person shall attend as so required:

Provided that no male under the age of fifteen years or woman shall be required to attend at any place other than the male person or woman resides.

Section 161 (2) of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 states –

Such person shall be bound to answer truly all questions relating to such case put to him by such officer, other than questions the answers to which would have a tendency to expose him to a criminal charge or to a penalty or forfeiture.

So, you have to assist the police officer.

Seventh Part of the Case Study is –

(please read the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Part of the Case Study, and then continue with this part) – ‘Incident’ has been reported to police officer, investigation is under process, my Chairman / senior / boss wants me to desist from such process, I do not have a proper reply for them.

Discussion –

Repercussions of being on the wrong side are harsh and severe in this case. When the police officer is in your school campus or at your residence as per Section 160 (1) of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, you shall extend all help and assistance required by the police officer.

If you fail to do so, you attract punishment.

See what Section 187 of The Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) states –

Omission to assist public servant when bound by law to give assistance. –

Whoever, being bound by law to render or furnish assistance to any public servant in the execution of his public duty, intentionally omits to give such assistance, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if such assistance be demanded of him by a public servant legally competent to make such demand for the purposes of executing any process lawfully issued by a Court of Justice, or of preventing the commission of an offence, or suppressing a riot, or affray, or of apprehending a person charged with or guilty of an offence, or of having escaped from lawful custody, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

So, ‘ not assisting police officer’ can be a very problematic situation for you.

“Lady with covered eyes” … watching us.

Summary of the Article –

Your Preschool’s or School’s Teaching Staff, Non-Teaching Staff, Casual Worker, Contractual Worker or even Outsider (who is on visit to your campus) is accused of Child’s Physical, Mental or Sexual abuse. Now, what does the ‘Law’ requires you to do?

  • If “you came to know”, you shall immediately report it to your nearest ‘police station incharge’.
  • If “you have the victim”, do not do anything which may interfere with the process of law or destroy the evidence. Call the parents and Medical officer simultaneously and immediately.
  • If “you have the victim”, none can refuse medical care. (medical institution / medical officer just need to inform police officer).
  • You may arrest the ‘perpetrator’.
  • Even if your seniors / colleagues pressurizes you about ‘not reporting’ the matter, you have to report the matter immediately.
  • You have to assist the police officer.
  • ‘Not assisting police officer’ can be a very problematic situation for you.

 

 

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