NEW DELHI: Dealing with a matter related to sexual harassment of school-going children, the Delhi High Court observed that the long-term effects of such crimes will cause mental trauma to the child and may dictate their thought process for the years to come.
Dismissing the appeal of a physics teacher who sexually harassed a class 9 student, the bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said, in such cases, the paramount consideration is to be given to the well-being of the child whose mental psyche is vulnerable, impressionable and in a developing stage.
The court maintained that sexual harassment can have the effect of hindering the normal social growth of the child and lead to various psychosocial problems which could require psychological intervention. The long-term effects of childhood sexual harassment are, at many times, insurmountable.
An act of sexual harassment, therefore, has the potential to cause mental trauma to the child and may dictate their thought process for years to come. It can have the effect of hindering the normal social growth of the child and lead to various psycho-social problems which could require psychological intervention, stated the court which dismissed the appeal of the teacher.
Upholding the penalty of compulsory retirement to the teacher by earlier orders, the court said, the disciplinary authority, on scanning the inquiry report (of the incident) and having accepted it, after discussing the available and admissible evidence on the charge, and the Central Administrative Tribunal has endorsed the view of the disciplinary authority, it was not at all open to the high court to reappreciate the evidence.
Keeping in view the law laid down by the Apex Court, the instant case is not a case wherein HC can interfere with the departmental enquiry proceedings. The principles of natural justice and fair play have not been violated and the statutory provisions have strictly been adhered to in the disciplinary proceedings, therefore, the findings of the learned single judge cannot be found fault with.
In light of the aforesaid judgment and in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, the question of interference with the judgment of the learned single judge in the instant case does not arise.