Saturday, February 15, 2014

RTO to verify if lady attendant was in school bus


Mateen Hafeez & Somit Sen TNN

Mumbai:In yet another case of a child being targeted in a school bus, a 25-year-old driver has been arrested for sexually assaulting a four-year-old nursery student last week. 

    The incident came to light when the child refused to go to her nursery school in Mazgaon. After much cajoling, she told her mother the driver was touching her inappropriately. The family then approached the police. After medical tests indicated sexual assault, the J J Marg police arrested Shahbaz Shaikh, a resident of Shantinagar slums in Wadala (East), on Wednesday night. He has been remanded in police custody till
February 20, and booked under several sections of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
    “The girl goes to a nursery school in Mazgaon by the minibus. On February 11 and 12, she started crying when her mother asked her to get ready and refused to go,” said a police officer. After she was calmed, she confided in her mother that she was scared of the driver because he would make her sit next to him and touch her inappropriately. Her family immediately approached the police and a medical report indicated nail marks around the child’s private parts.
    The girl told the police Shaikh had been touching her inappropriately since February 4and continued till February 10. “We are making further investigations to make a watertight case against the accused,” said Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police (south region), adding that there was no formal agreement between the bus operator and the school.
    RTO officials are likely to cancel the permit of the Thaneregistered bus after receiving a copy of the FIR—most probably on Saturday—from the J J Marg police. “Under the school bus policy, we will conduct our own probe to ascertain if there was a woman attendant in the bus. If a woman attendant was not present at the time of the crime, we will prosecute the bus operator,” said an official.
   Another senior official said the police were empowered under the Motor Vehicle Act to check documents such as the vehicle’s papers, taxes, insurance, PUC and driving licence. 

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act
The POCSO Act, 2012, defines a child as a person aged below 18. It is gender neutral and has a clear definition for all types of sexual abuse like sexual harassment and penetrative or non-penetrative sexual abuse
Max Punishment
Sec 3(a): Penetrative Sexual Assault 
| Penalty: Not less than 7 years, which may extend to life term, and a fine
 Sec 4: Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault 
| Penalty: Not less than 10 years, which may extend to life term, and a fine
Cases Filed In Maha Under POCSO Act In Past Year | 1,200 
The Times of India, February 15, 2014

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