The Bombay High Court has refused to grant pre-arrest bail to the chairman of a Kolhapur school booked for allegedly abetting the suicide of a minor boy observing that he had scolded the boy in an “unruly manner” and prima facie “created an impression on student’s mind to put him in deep frustration”.
Justice Vinay Joshi rejected the anticipatory bail application of Ganpatrao Patil observing: “The utterances of the applicant (Patil) are objectionable. No doubt, he can reprimand students, but not in such a language which would shatter the tender mind. As per the statements of witnesses, the applicant has scolded the deceased minor boy in an unruly manner…Prima facie it suggests that the applicant has created an impression in the mind of the student to put him in deep frustration.”
An FIR was registered against Patil by the Shiroli MIDC police in Kolhapur district under various sections of the IPC and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
On April 2, a complaint was filed by the boy’s grandfather against Pail, who is the chairman of the Symbolic International School and his wife, who’s the principal. According to the complaint, on April 1, the grandfather was called to the school where he was asked to take back his grandson.
The boy later disclosed to his grandfather that while he was playing football a goal post guard inadvertently hit a girl, causing her injury. Patil then scolded and abused him in filthy language. The grandfather, then met Patil to inquire about the incident. Patil allegedly told him that his grandson had caused injury to the girl and is “ill-cultured and there are no chances of reformation and he is a slum boy”, read the complaint. The school principal informed the grandfather that the boy had behaved unruly in the past and that he should be rusticated from the school.
According to the FIR, Patil uttered bad words to the boy in presence of a school teacher. After they went home, within a few hours, the boy allegedly ended his life.
Patil’s advocates, Hrishikesh Mundargi and Pravada Raut argued that Patil’s act, the act of reprimanding a student cannot be construed as sufficient instigation for the alleged suicide.
However, additional public prosecutor MR Tidke opposed Patil’s plea stating that his act of “humiliating, abusing and continuously harassing student” amounts to sufficient instigation as he died by suicide within a few hours of the incident.
Rejecting the plea, the HC observed: “It requires to be noted that there is a direct link of the applicant’s act since within a few hours from the episode, the child has ended his life by suicide… A young student has lost his life in proximity to the act of the applicant. The investigation is in progress. The applicant’s custodial interrogation is necessary.”