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While hearing an appeal, Delhi High Court noticed that complaints against sexual harassment of children were not forwarded to the Police. Court dismissed the appeal and directed school authorities to hand over all the complaints to Police

4 December, 2017


While dismissing an appeal filed by the employee of a school challenging the by which the single bench of Delhi High Court set aside the judgment of the Delhi School Tribunal dated 26.08.2008, holding the appellant's resignation dated 12.09.2000 become final and accepted by the managing committee on 12.09.2000 itself and appellant could not have withdrawn his resignation by his subsequent letters since the letters of withdrawal were written after the acceptance of resignation by the responded school, the two Division Bench of Delhi High Court Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Deepak Sharma said that :


"the manner in which the school authorities have handled the number of sexual harassment complaints received from young girls and their parents, really shocks our conscience. Instead of forwarding such complaints to the appropriate authorities for legal action, they felt satisfied by issuing a showcause notice calling upon the explanation probably preparing to take disciplinary action against the appellant. They must have felt relieved when the appellant submitted his resignation. This attitude of the school authorities encourages the wrongdoers and discourages the Samaritans or the brave girls who takes the courage to make complaints to school authorities. They took no legal actions on the complaints of sexual harassment of young girls received from them rather they brushed them under the carpet. It is also an incumbent duty of all to build a protective net around the children who have suffered any physical or emotional abuse. The lenient approach in such cases would certainly adversely affect the psychology of the children who carries such sexual abuses of their childhood to their teenage and then to their adulthood without having a satisfaction that the person who had abused them had been punished as per the law."

The facts of the case are that the appellant was in the employment of School since 04.10.1994 as TGT (Music). While on duty on 11.09.2000, he was handed over a memo dated 09.09.2000 with regard to the charges for outraging the modesty of girl students and misbehaving with lady teachers.

He was directed to submit his explanation within 24 hours. Instead of submitting the explanation within 24 hours, the appellant submitted his resignation dated 12.09.2000, resigning from his service with immediate effect. The said resignation was accepted by the Managing Committee of the respondent No.1/School on the same date and it was sent for the approval of the Director of Education (hereinafter referred to as "DoE") on 15.09.2000 who accorded the approval on 15.11.2000. The services of the appellant were dispensed with by the School w.e.f. 12.09.2000.

The appellant had challenged the said termination of the service by way of the Appeal No. 25/2000 before the Delhi School Tribunal. The Tribunal, thereafter, on the basis of the pleadings before it, considered the issue relating to the date of acceptance of the resignation i.e. whether it was accepted on 12.09.2000 or 15.11.2000 and the issue whether the appellant was forced to resign on 12.09.2000 or he had submitted his resignation on 12.09.2000 voluntarily. The Tribunal, after considering the arguments addressed and the documents placed before it, reached to the conclusion that before the resignation could have been approved by the DoE in terms of Rule 114A of Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, the appellant had withdrawn his resignation and therefore, the respondent no. 1/School was directed to reinstate the appellant w.e.f. 12.09.2000. No findings on the issue whether the appellant was forced to submit his resignation or not was given by the Tribunal.

The Respondent school challenged the findings of the Tribunal in WP(C) No. 6873 of 2008 in Delhi High Court. The Single Judge of the High Court passed the following order:

"7. In view of the above, this writ petition is allowed. Impugned judgment of the Delhi School Tribunal dated 26.8.2008 is set aside by holding that in view of the specific language of Rule 114A the respondent no. 3‟s resignation dated 12.9.2000 became final on being accepted by the Managing Committee on 12.9.2000 itself, and the respondent no. 3 thereafter could not have withdrawn his resignation by his letters dated 17.9.2000 (which was in fact a blank document sent under envelope to the petitioner no. 1/school on 12.9.2000. Also, I do not find that there could have been any reason for denial of the approval of resignation by the Director of Education because in fact after duly considering the stand of the respondent no. 3 of alleged forcible resignation, the Director of Education has given approval for acceptance of the resignation on account of there existing serious issues of respondent no. 3 outranging the modesty of minor girls studying in the petitioner no. 1/ school and which approval of Director of Education will relate back to 12.9.2000 when the resignation was accepted by the Managing Committee of the petition no.1/school.

8. Writ petition is therefore allowed as stated above, leaving the parties to bear their own costs."

Mr. Anirudh Kumar Pandey preferred Letter Patent appeal before the division bench of Delhi High Court.

The Division Bench of Delhi High Court dismissed the appeal with a direction that:

"Accordingly, we direct the school authorities to forward all the complaints received by them relating to sexual harassment of the young girls to the police so that necessary action can be taken on those complaints. We are aware that much time has elapsed, but the offence still stare stark at our face and we cannot close our eyes just by disposing this appeal. The school authorities are also directed to extend their full cooperation with the police. The Court shall be informed about the action taken within two weeks from today."  




Read the Order of Delhi High Court dated 30.11.2017



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