School bus driver gets 7 years rigorous imprisonment for sexually harassing girl

The girl was a nursery student in a convent school located in Mira Road locality and the incident occurred while she was returning home after attending the school.

The girl was a nursery student in a convent school located in Mira Road locality. (Image: freepik)The girl was a nursery student in a convent school located in Mira Road locality. (Image: freepik)

Press Trust of India | March 2, 2024 | 03:26 PM IST

NEW DELHI: A court in Maharashtra's Thane district has sentenced a driver of a school bus to seven years of rigorous imprisonment for allegedly sexually harassing a girl, who was less than four years of age when the incident occurred in 2019. The court, in its order passed on February 28, also convicted a woman attendant of the school bus and sentenced her to the jail term that she has already undergone. The deposition by the minor victim nailed the accused and helped the prosecution to prove its case.

The girl was a nursery student in a convent school located in Mira Road locality and the incident occurred while she was returning home after attending the school. Special court judge D S Deshmukh, hearing cases pertaining to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, convicted the driver-cum-cleaner Denis Thomas Lewis (67) and woman attendant Jenevia Anil Mathais (36), and pronounced the quantum of sentence. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on each of the convicts. Special public prosecutor Vivek G Kadu told the court that the child, who was three years and eight months old then, used to travel to school by bus.

Case registered under POCSO Act

On December 13, 2019, when she returned home from school, her mother noticed that something was amiss with her daughter. When she asked her, the girl said that the driver sexually abused her. Her parents immediately rushed to the school and lodged a complaint, following which the police registered a case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) 354A (sexual harassment) and the POCSO Act, he said. The prosecution told the court that the woman attendant did not report the incident to the school management despite knowledge about it.

Also readGovt primary school teacher booked for sexually abusing minor girl students in Amritsar

In the order, the judge said that the driver committed a heinous offence with the minor victim. "It was his duty to take care of the school-going children with utmost love and affection. Instead, he subjected the minor girl to aggravated sexual assault, and it was the duty of the bus attendant to inform the incident to her superior which she did not perform," the court said. Instead of showing fatherly love, affection and protection to the child travelling by the school bus, the accused sexually harassed her and the woman failed to perform her duty as an attendant, it said.

The driver submitted to the court that he is now 67 years old and has been in jail for the last more than four years. He said he is suffering from Parkinson's disease, while the attendant submitted that she has small children and there is nobody to look after them. "Considering the submissions of the accused, his age and disease, and considering the behaviour of the accused attendant during the trial and her family background, I take a lenient view and the following punishment would meet the ends of justice," the judge noted while pronouncing the quantum of sentence.

Follow us for the latest education news on colleges and universities, admission, courses, exams, research, education policies, study abroad and more..

To get in touch, write to us at news@careers360.com.

Download Our App

Start you preparation journey for JEE / NEET for free today with our APP

  • Students250M+Students
  • College30,000+Colleges
  • Exams500+Exams
  • Ebooks1500+Ebooks
  • Certification12000+Certifications