“Brilliance Without Integrity And Character Is A National Liability” MP High Court Acquits School Principal On Charges Of Abetting Suicide Of Student He Chided

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Kumari Ganga Sen, aged 15 years old, was a Class 10 student in Madhya Pradesh who committed suicide on 14th November 2017. She was accosted on the said date by the principal of her school besides being scolded, slapped and intimidated on leaving the school in afternoon. The judgement was delivered by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Atul Sreedharan.

Further the deceased was taken back to her school in the afternoon and further beaten and humiliated there in front of other students. It was alleged that the deceased committed suicide in her house on account of the scolding and beating given to her by the principal; had the principal not done so, the child would have been alive today.

The post-mortem report reveals the cause of death to be hanging which caused loss of oxygen and a ligature mark running around the neck caused by the rope used for committing suicide. Absence of any other internal injury and no mark of any external injury clearly reveals that the deceased was either subjected to no violence or the violence was too gentle in nature to leave any mark on the body.

The Court observed:

“Correction by way of admonishment and chastisement, as and when required, still remains a sacred duty of the those imparting education…Brilliance without integrity and character is a social and national liability rather than an asset… in the process, it may be natural for the child to feel a sense of embarrassment and perhaps humiliation, but it is these very emotions that would prevent the child from repeating its mistake.”

It was argued before the Court that the act of slapping and chiding constitute abetment of suicide by incitement. The Court differed from the said proposition and reasoned:

“An act which constitutes a distinct offence by itself…cannot be construed as an act inciting another offence, which was never contemplated by the person to whom the original act is attributed to. Only such acts would be deemed to be an incitement, which…convey a clear and unambiguous direction to the person so incited, to act in a particular manner. Incitement…may also mean the creation of such an environment around the person so abetted, that he is compelled to act in a particular manner”

The principal never asked the deceased to commit suicide and the act of slapping could only constitute a non-cognizable offence which, in itself, could not be proved in the present case. The High Court, thus, disposed of the petition.

The Court further observed:

“…nothing can imperil education more.If students are expected to grow up in an environment, where they know that they shall not be chastised or spoken harshly to for any and every transgression of theirs…the society may wind up having young delinquents who ultimately grow up without having fear of the law…”