After 11 years, Bombay HC acquits teacher accused of rape.

Representative image.

Bombay High Court has acquitted a teacher, accused of raping a class 3 student. The action has been taken after 11 years, of the original 2010 case.

Bombay HC set aside a 2013 conviction of a trial court, while saying that conviction cannot be based on "probabilities", but rather on cogent evidence, found lacking in the 2010 case.

The case went as such

The biology teacher, involved in this case, used to teach students of classes 11 and 12. The victim was in class 3 of the same school, along with her siblings.

On 22 June 2010, the children did not return home till 6:15 pm. The parents went to school and were informed by the auto-rickshaw driver that the girl could not be traced. Later, a teacher dropped her near the rickshaw.

On inquiry, the girl revealed that when she went to the washroom with one of her friends, the drawing teacher had done "bad things" to her. She further added that another teacher, present at the scene, had gagged her mouth. The mother also noticed bleeding.

Court's observations were

The witnesses informed the Court that the parents were hesitant from registering a case and wanted matters to be settled. This raised questions in the mind of judges, Jadhav and NR Borkar.

Investigating the medical reports, the Court noted that the victim was subjected to sexual abuse. However, the question of, whether the accused is the perpetrator of the crime, remained.

The Court noticed that the accused teacher came to school around 7:50 am and left around 3 pm. Additionally, the girl had pointed to another teacher. Yet the parents refused that, claiming to know the teacher well.

The High Court said, "the contention of the Prosecutor that since the laboratory is situated on the same floor, in all probabilities the accused could be the person who had abused the victim cannot be taken into consideration for the simple reason that conviction of the accused cannot rest upon probabilities."

The Court added, "there has to be cogent and convincing evidence which is inconsistent with the innocence of the accused. It would amount to conviction on surmises and conjectures and therefore, the accused is entitled to be acquitted in the present case."

The accused teacher was 32-years-old when he appeared in 2014. He had been lodged at Kolhapur central prison since his arrest in 2010.

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