Anganwadis and Schools are made for the development of the kids and parents send their children with full faith in the teachers and helpers, manhandling the children in school is punishable under the law and this new judgment will send a clear message across that one cannot things for the granted.
In a 2015 case, the children’s court has sentenced an Anganwadi helper to five days imprisonment and has fined her Rs. 1 lakh for burning a 2.5-year-old child’s cheek with a hot metal spoon. The court directed that the fine amount be deposited with the National Children’s Fund or State Children’s Fund.
The victim, the boy’s mother, and brother were not present during the proceedings, the court stated that there was no point in awarding compensation to the minor.
“Thus the only object of the sentence, in this case, would be to create a deterrent effect and to pass a message to society not to abuse children and to protect the ‘best interest’ of the children, “stated the order passed by the president of the children’s court Vinay Tendulkar.
Public Prosecutor F Noronha though, argued that the accused deserved a maximum sentence considering that the boy was only 2.5 years old at the time of the incident and has been left traumatized.
D Dhond, who appeared on behalf of the accused, told the court that the Anganwadi helper was very poor with no source of income as her services were terminated after the incident. He said that her husband was also unemployed after he was sacked from his job in Muscat. She has two children and there is no one to look after them, Dhond further added.
The court took into consideration that the accused is middle-aged, has family responsibilities and is of poor economic status. It is stated that leniency can be shown to the accused Anganwadi helper while awarding the sentence as she has no criminal record and this is her first conviction of this type.
This incident occurred at the Anganwadi in Saterwadi in Camurlim in April 2015 Medical examination had revealed an injury in the nature of a 6cmx2cm scald on the child’s left cheek.
For the judgment, the court relied on the testimonies of the Anganwadi teacher, who saw the accused helper with the child, and the medical officer, who examined the child. The court held that there was no reason for the two to falsely implicate the accused in such a heinous charge.
There were 5 students at the Anganwadi centre as against the usual 14 on the day of the incident. The teacher stated that the child was crying a lot and the mother had left after a while stating that she had urgent work. The accused was playing with the child, who then followed her into the kitchen. The teacher then heard the child screaming and administered first aid.
The accused meanwhile denied the testimony of the teacher.
The court observed that the accused failed to tender an explanation for the injury. The court also observed that, since a child was involved, the burden of proof shifted to the accused if the child was in her custody at the time the offense was committed.