In a country where the courts take ages to reach a judgment, “justice delayed is justice denied” is a very popular saying. However, we saw an exception recently, where a Patna court on Monday sentenced the principal of a private school to the death penalty and awarded a life sentence to his accomplice for raping a minor girl in the school for a period of over six months in 2018.

Considering the nature of this case against the main accused Arvind Kumar, who has committed rape with the victim, I am unable to impose the sentence less than capital punishment,” the court observed in its judgment on Monday as reported by Times of India.

Additional sessions judge Awdhesh Kumar of the Patna civil court also imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh on Arvind Kumar, the principal, and ₹50,000 on Abhishek Kumar, the clerk, and accomplice. The two were convicted on Saturday.

The incident came to light in November 2018 when the girl, a fifth standard student, returned from school one day and started vomiting. When quizzed about what happened, the girl narrated her ordeal to her parents. When her parents took her to a doctor, he examined her and it was found that she was pregnant. Based on the complaint of the girl’s mother, an FIR was lodged with the women’s police station under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

Representative image: source

Shortly after, the principal and the clerk were arrested by the Phulwarisharif police. Special public prosecutor Suresh Chandra Prasad said to ThePrint, “The girl had become pregnant. A DNA test was conducted in which it was confirmed that Arvind was involved in the crime.”

Prasad said abortion was carried out at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) that after the court sanctioned it. “The DNA sample was collected from her foetus and sent to the forensic laboratory of state police. The DNA sample matched with that of Arvind,” he said. Prasad said the victim had narrated her ordeal before a judicial magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC. “She reiterated the facts during the case trial. The DNA test result was another strong evidence against Arvind,” he said.

This incident was a breach of trust that exemplifies the teacher-student relationship. It calls for stricter hiring policies and mandatory psychometry tests for all teaching staff. However, the only positive that happened, in this case, was the quick judgment passed by the court. It is now of paramount importance that the girl is counseled, provided with any help/support that she requires to be able to return back to her old life and begin afresh.

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