Student dies by suicide after school chairman calls him ‘nalayak, dharti ka bojh’; Bombay High Court denies anticipatory bail

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The Bombay High Court last month denied anticipatory bail to the chairman of an international school, booked for allegedly abetting the suicide of a class 10 student by scolding, insulting and using filthy language against the child [Ganpatrao Patil vs State of Maharashtra]
Justice Vinay Joshi said that teachers can reprimand students but not in a language that could shatter their tender minds.

“No doubt, he (teacher) can reprimand students, but not in such a language which would shatter the tender mind,” the single-judge held.

Ganpatrao Patil, the chairman of Symbolic International School, had pulled up the deceased, after he hit a football towards a girl by mistake.

The incident took place on April 1, 2022.

The accused allegedly told the deceased that he was a “Nalayak, Dharti Ka Bojh, Zhopadpattichhap etc.” (worthless, burden on earth, slum-dweller).

The accused chairman also called the grandfather of the child to the school and told him to take away his grandson and that he should be rusticated from the school.

The High Court’s order observed,

“It is well settled that each case depends upon facts and circumstances of the case. Whether a person has abetted in the commission of suicide, could only be gathered from the facts of particular case. There can be indirect act of incitement for commission of suicide. On examining entire investigation paper it reveals that there are several complaints of the parents against the applicant about misbehavior with students. As regards to the case in hand, the utterances of the applicant are objectionable.”

After the child died by suicide, the Kolhapur Police accordingly booked him under Sections 305 (abetting suicide), 504 (intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children).

The judge in his order took into account the statements of witnesses and concluded that the accused had scolded the deceased in an “unruly manner.”

“In presence of teacher and the informant (grandfather), (he) again scolded in unparliamentary words. Prima facie it suggests that he has created impression in the mind of student to put him in deep frustration. It requires to be noted that there is a direct link of his act since within few hours from the episode, the child has ended his life by suicide,” the order noted.

Noting that the criterion for bail and anticipatory bail differ, the High Court noted that,

“A young student has lost his life in proximity from the act of the accused. Investigation is in progress. His custodial interrogation is necessary. No case is made out to grant pre-arrest protection, hence, the application stands rejected.”

Advocates Hrishikesh Mundargi and Pravada Raut represented the Applicant. Additional Public Prosecutor MR Tidke appeared for the respondent-State. Advocates Ramesh Badi and Ajay Bhise appeared for the intervenor.

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