Supreme Court Issues Notice On A Priest’s Bail Plea Accused Of Harassing & Abetting Suicide Of A Girl In School
The Supreme Court recently in a Special Leave Petition, preferred by Father Felix Raj, Principal of Hartman Inter College, Gazipur has issued notice to the State, where the Priest is accused under Section 306 IPC for allegedly harassing and abetting suicide of a girl in the School.
The Allahabad High Court in the impugned order dated July 7, 2023, had denied bail considering the strong averments made and the evidence produced. Interestingly, the Apex Court will hear the matter on September 5, 2023.
A Bench of Justice C.T. Ravikumar and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia while hearing the case, permitted the petitioner to serve the standing counsel for the State of Uttar Pradesh.
Senior Advocate R. Basant appeared for the petitioner.
In the present matter, the victim was studying in the school of which Father Felix-the petitioner was the Principal since 2019.
As per the statements recorded under Section 161 CrPC, the father of the deceased alleged that while he was taking his daughter to the hospital, she confided in him and asked him “not to let go of the Priest”.
As per the sister's statements, the deceased had seen the petitioner with a girl in a compromising situation in the School’s changing room. Resultantly, as a consequence the other girl students on persuasion from the Father, accordingly, started harassing her and commenting upon her.
She had further stated, that teachers were not really fond of the deceased. As per the averments made, the petitioner used to inflict unnecessary punishments on her without any due reason.
The brother in his statement alleged mental torture and harassment by the petitioner.
However, the petitioner contended that the victim was in a habit of eating paper, which was slowly turning into a serious disorder. It was further contended that she used to faint in School quite often, and was being treated at BHU Varanasi for the alleged ‘mental disorder’.
The petitioner got to know that the victim died on May 10, 2023 during treatment, through a newspaper report. Further argued that possibly, because of the mental disorder the victim must have consumed poison.
The petitioner before the High Court had also relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in V.P. Singh v. The State of Punjab and Others. However, while relying on the factual matrix and the evidences produced, a bench of Justice Dr. Gautam Chowdhary of the Allahabad High Court rejected the bail application.
It is to be noted that the petitioner has been in custody since May 22, 2023.
Cause Title: Father Felix Raj v. State Of Uttar Pradesh