Mumbai: HC relief for Kurla school headmistress in atrocities case

The HC has directed that in case of arrest, the headmistress shall be released on personal bond of Rs 25,000

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, May 28, 2022, 10:46 PM IST
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Mumbai: HC relief for Kurla school headmistress in atrocities case |

The Bombay High Court has granted pre-arrest bail to the headmistress of a Kurla school after an FIR was filed against her for allegedly making a casteist remark to a teacher who was pulled up over her alleged unsatisfactory performance.

Justice Milind Jadhav on Friday allowed plea by Lekha Visaria, principal of the Swami Vivekanand Vidyalaya, Kurla, seeking relief in the case registered against her by the Nehru Nagar police in February this year under various sections of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for insulting or intimidating an SC/ST member in any place within public view.

The HC has directed that in case of arrest, Visaria shall be released on personal bond of Rs 25,000.

According to the FIR, there were several mistakes in the mark sheets and evaluation of class X students in 2021. Visaria had sought explanation from teachers for the same. As the complainant teacher did not give an explanation, Visaria sought an apology.

On October 5, 2021 Visaria summoned the teacher and questioned why she had not submitted an apology letter. She told her English was not good and “as she belonged to a lower caste, therefore, she is fit to teach a lower class.” Thereafter, two other teachers witnessed the principal’s tirade, alleges the FIR.

The teacher further said that the trustees asked her to teach Class 5 and 6 instead of Class 9 and 10 citing her unsatisfactory work in teaching English.

She then filed a complaint in December and later an FIR on February 9 this year.

Rishi Bhuta, Visaria’s advocate, contended that the FIR was filed due to vendetta.

The HC noted that the FIR did not contain any specific casteist remark. The court said “prima facie there is no reference to the caste of the informant by the appellant which she has alleged to be insulting’’ nor any other incident. Also, the FIR does not mention what was stated before her two eye-witnesses.

Also, the complainant has not attended school from October 4-9 and there were discrepancies in her signatures on the muster. The court added that this aspect needs to be investigated.

Citing the management’s letter, the court said that the complainant’s performance cannot be lost sight of. “It is only after this, that the complainant has reacted and filed the report with the police. If the complainant was genuinely hurt on October 5, 2021, she would have immediately lodged the complaint as any prudent person is expected to do, if she was right in her complaint,” aid justice Jadhav.

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