M A I N   N E W S

HP headmaster gets 7-year RI for raping handicapped minor
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, December 18
A primary school headmaster in Himachal Pradesh, supposed to be a guardian of children, was found guilty of raping a handicapped minor girl by the Supreme Court, which quashed the High Court order exonerating him.

Setting aside the Himachal Pradesh High Court order of 1999 acquitting headmaster Bimlesh Kumar of rape charges, a Bench of Mr Justice B.N. Agrawal and Mr Justice H.K. Sema cancelled his bail, ordered his immediate arrest and sentenced him to seven years rigorous imprisonment, awarded to him by the trial judge.

“In our view, the trial court was quite justified in recording the conviction of Bimlesh Kumar and the judgement of acquittal rendered by the High Court suffers from the vice of perversity,” the Bench said.

The trial court had found him guilty of raping the Class V girl on December 7, 1992, in Huran Primary School of Kulu district during school hours when two other teachers — Aalam Chand and Tirath Ram — were asked by him to take other students to a nearby forest to bring firewoods for him.

Since the girl was handicapped and could not go to the forest, the headmaster had taken advantage of it and took her to his room and sexually assaulted her, Himachal’s Additional Advocate-General J.S. Attri argued.

The tragic part of episode was that girl’s father was insane and could not immediately lodge an FIR with the police after the girl had narrated the incident to her mother at 5 pm on reaching home, he added.

The FIR was registered two days after the incident when girl’s uncle, who was away, returned home and took her to the police station. The medical examination had also confirmed the rape, Mr Attri said, while making a strong plea for setting aside the acquittal order.

Allowing the appeal of the state government, the apex court said there was no reason for exonerating the headmaster as the prosecution case had been supported by several witnesses, including the girl in a faultless deposition before the trial judge and corroborated by her mother, uncle and Alam Chand, the other teacher.

“So far as the delay in lodging the FIR is concerned, the prosecution has sufficiently explained that the father of the girl was insane and there was no other male member in the family available on December 7 and 8, 1992, to go to the police station till the girl’s uncle came home on December 9,” the court said.

It rejected the plea of the accused that there was a delay in registering the report with the police and conducting the medical test of the girl, saying that those were not the reasonable defence. Government doctor Geeta Kaul, who conducted the medical examination, had clearly concluded that the girl had been sexually assaulted.

The medico-evidence in this regard clearly established that the headmaster was guilty of the crime, the judges said, adding “in our view, the trial court was quite justified in convicting him.”

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |