The Karnataka High Court recently denied a bail application filed by an Assistant Teacher in the Government Primary School accused of sexually harassing minor girl students studying in the Government School. The High Court noted that the victims who were minor girls aged between 8 to 11 years have consistently stated before the police as well as the Magistrate that the accused was sexually harassing them.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Umesh M Adiga in its order observed that "Guru or teacher are considered as God in this Country and respected like a God. However, because of the alleged behaviour of the petitioner, even the parents think twice about sending their girl child to the school."

The High Court while rejecting the bail further noted that "it is not a crime against the individual but crime against society". The Court observed that it is due to the alleged threat of the Petitioner the students delayed lodging a complaint and the same cannot be a ground for bail.

The Karnataka High Court was dealing with a Criminal Petition filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the grant of bail to the petitioner booked under offences punishable under Sections 8 and 12 of the POCSO Act. It was alleged in the complaint that the Petitioner was working as a Government Teacher for the past 6-7 Years and was accused of sexually assaulting minor girl students studying in IV to VI standard of the same school.

It was alleged that the Petitioner used to touch the private part of the body of the minor girls and talked to them in an obscene and inappropriate manner. The Minor girls also stated that they were asked to touch his private part of the body and that the teacher used to remove his dress as well as the dress of the said girl students.

Appearing for the Petitioner, Advocate A N Radha Krishna contended that there was no complaint ever against the Petitioner since the time he was a teacher and that he is falsely implicated in the case on the behest of the villagers as he once objected to a villager against his petty shop in the school premises and insisted to remove it.

Petitioner further submitted that the villagers have tutored their minor children and falsely given the statement before the police as well as the court. He also stated that if given bail he has no chance of absconding from the jurisdiction or tampering with the prosecution witnesses.

Appearing for the Respondent, High Court Government Pleader (HCGP) Mahesh Shetty stated that the present case is not against one or two girl children but several girl children and the Petitioner used to threaten them with dire consequences. Government Pleader stated that no previous complaint history cannot be ground to fold that it was a false case filed against him.

Respondent State further advanced that the victims are not related to the said petty shop owners and it is difficult to believe that for the owner of a petty shop, the villagers may not think of filing a false complaint involving the honour and right of their minor girl child, about sexual harassment. States also submitted that the girls stated that even the previous students were victims of the teacher and that the defence by the accused is nothing but a cock and bull-story.

Agreeing with the view of the Government Pleader, the High Court noted that these facts prima facia shows the involvement of the petitioner in the alleged offences and Affirmed the order of the Trial Court which denied bail to the petitioner. The High Court remarked that the Fast Track Court has elaborately discussed these subjects as well as the point of law involved in this case and rejected the bail application.

The High Court accordingly dismissed the Bail application.

Cause Title: C Manjunath v. State of Karnataka and Another

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