Nation Current Affairs 20 Sep 2017 Madurai school headm ...

Madurai school headmaster awarded 55-year jail term

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | GOKUL VANNAN
Published Sep 20, 2017, 2:42 am IST
Updated Sep 20, 2017, 2:42 am IST
M . Arokiasamy
 M . Arokiasamy

Madurai: The school headmaster, accused of sexually assaulting about 90 girls in the sensational Pothumbu case, will be spending 55 years in jail as a court sentenced him in six cases awarding a total of 120 years of imprisonment.

As the headmaster M . Arokiasamy (62) was being led out of the III Additional Sessions Court (PCR cases), Madurai after Justice R Shanmuga Sundaram awarded him the jail sentence, onlookers threw eggs and slippers on him. However, the police whisked him away to the safety of the police van.

The Judge ordered the headmaster to pay Rs 3.40 lakh in fines which will be paid as compensation to 22 of his stuent victims. The court acquitted three other teachers accused in the case.

The judge awarded 25 years under The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act; 30 years under 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC and another five years under section 3 (1) (XII) SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and he was directed undergo the imprisonments consequently. n P3

The court also awarded another 60 years imprisonment under Tamil Nadu Women Harassment Act and five years under 32 (VII) of IPC. And the guilty headmaster was directed to undergo this imprisonment concurrently.

The sexual assault on 90 girl students at Government Higher Secondary School at Pothumbu near Madurai was brought to light after the intervention of All India Democratic Women Association. Based on the complaint filed by SK Ponnuthai, state secretary of AIDWA and parents of five girls, the Koodal Pudur police station registered a case against the headmaster on March 13, 2011.

It was only three days after Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat protested demanding the arrest of the headmaster that he surrendered before the Judicial Magistrate Court No. 2 at around 6.45 pm on August 31, 2011.

Even as the court kept him under suspension, Ponnuthai and a few others from AIDWA filed a case in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court in 2014 seeking to expedite the investigation and pay compensation to the victim children.

Based on a high court direction in 2016, the case was heard in-camera in the III Additional Sessions Court (PCR cases) in a separate room. The court heard about 51 girls and 14 boys of the school during the trial.

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