Ruchika`s school ignores CBSE order on principal

Last Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2010 - 20:54

New Delhi/Chandigarh: The CBSE has
directed disciplinary action against principal of a school
which expelled Ruchika Girhotra soon after she complained of
molestation by ex-DGP SS Rathore nearly two decades ago, but
the school management defended her saying she was "innocent".

The Board has asked the management of Sacred Heart
School in Chandigarh to initiate proceedings against principal
Sister S Sebestina and other school staff for expelling the
14-year-old for non-payment of fees without intimating her
parents about it, sources in the CBSE said, adding an expert
committee found that the school had violated "affiliation
bylaws".
Ruchika, a budding tennis, was molested by Rathore in
1990 and committed suicide three years later. She was in Class
IX when she was expelled.

The action could range from censure, suspension,
dismissal or compulsory retirement from service.

However, the school management claimed that Ruchika
was never expelled but her name was struck off the rolls as
she had remained absent for a long duration.

"What action are we going to take against her
(Principal). We are not going to take any action. She is
innocent," Father Thomas, Vicar-General and spokesman of the
Chandigarh-Shimla Diocese, which runs the 44-year-old school,
said in Chandigarh this evening.

"We have not received any notice from the Central
Board of Secondary Education so far," he said responding to a
query.

Thomas claimed that there had never been any kind of
pressure from Rathore on the school earlier and added the
former DGP had not even visited the school.
He claimed that Ruchika had continuously remained
absent from the school for three months leading to her name
being struck off.

"Ruchika was not expelled and there is no proof to
suggest that. She herself had stopped coming to the school on
her own and her name was struck off the rolls," he said.

He said there was no question of punishing principal
Sister Sebestina, who continues to be the principal, when she
was not at fault.

Earlier, a probe ordered by Chandigarh Administration
had found Sister Sebestina guilty of arbitrarily expelling
Ruchika from the school.

Sub-divisional magistrate Prerna Puri had in her probe
report said the decision to expel Ruchika by the school was
taken in an arbitrary, selective and a biased manner.

The case grabbed headlines when Rathore was convicted
last year of molesting Ruchika. A sessions court had on May 25
this year increased Rathore`s jail term from six months to
one-and-half years. On September one, the High Court dismissed
Rathore`s appeal against his conviction and sentencing, ruling
that his conduct as a top official was "shameful".

68-year-old Rathore was released on bail last month,
after spending nearly six months in jail for molesting
Ruchika.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 2, 2010 - 20:54

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