MADURAI: Dismissing a petition filed by a Sivaganga school headmistress to quash an FIR against her and a drawing master in a case of sexual harassment of class VIII girls, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) directed the police to expedite the probe into the complaint lodged by the victims.
Justice S Vaidyanathan termed the actions of the headmistress as “unfortunate”. Some class VIII girls of the Government Middle school at Melavellur had complained to their headmistress C Seetha that they were sexually abused by a part-time drawing master Gana Uthayam. Instead of taking action against the teacher, Seetha tried to downplay the incident, saying the master would have done it playfully. She asked the girls not to escalate the issue to their parents and allegedly threatened them that they would be failed in examination if they disclosed the matter to anyone.
As the sexual harassment continued, one of the girls revealed to her parents, who then lodged a complaint with the police in Manamadurai. A case was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012 and the headmistress was arraigned as the second accused. The headmistress moved the High Court seeking to quash the FIR.
Justice Vaidyanathan recalled that even the SC pointed out that only of late some middle-class people send girl children to co-educational institutions. But it was unfortunate that teachers who were considered equal to God had fallen from the high pedestal to the lowest level.
Citing a judgment delivered by the late Justice V R Krishna Iyer, the judge said that when a woman is ravished, what is inflicted is not mere physical injury, but the ‘deep sense of some deathless shame.’