Court denies bail to Chennai teacher Rajagopalan, booked under POCSO Act

The POCSO judge observed that the inquiry against the Chennai school teacher, who stands accused of sexual harassment by multiple students, is in the primary stage and is incomplete.
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A special POCSO court on Saturday refused to grant bail to Rajagopalan, the 59-year-old teacher of a city school who had been arrested after he was accused of sexual harassment by several students. G Rajagopalan was working as a commerce teacher at a branch of Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan (PSBB) school in Chennai and current students and alumni of the school had taken to social media to share their allegations.

Rajagopalan had applied for bail before the POCSO court but while hearing the case on Saturday, Judge Mohammed Farooq dismissed the bail application, observing that the inquiry into the charges against him is in its preliminary stage and is incomplete, and so the bail cannot be granted.

There were many charges made against Rajagopalan, who taught students of Class XI and XII, of allegedly misbehaving with the students during the online classes. Complaints of the teacher physically and verbally harassing the students were also reported by the current students and alumni of the private school.

Subsequently, as a slew of complaints mounted against Rajagopalan on social media causing a huge outrage, Rajagopalan was arrested on May 24 on charges of sexual abuse. The school management also suspended the teacher, although the school continuously denied having received any such complaints from the students in the past.

Rajagopalan, who was arrested and sent to judicial custody was soon taken by the Chennai city police for inquiry for three days as per the order from POCSO special judge Mohammed Farooq. Rajagopalan has been booked under section 11 and 12 (Sexual harassment of children) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012, Sections 354(A) (Sexual harassment) and 509 (Insulting modesty of woman) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 67 (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67A (Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act. 

Meanwhile, in the backdrop of the allegations, the Tamil Nadu government along with the police department, school and higher education departments has formed committees to roll out a set of guidelines to be followed while taking online classes.

Chief Minister MK Stalin also stated that special helpline numbers will be announced so that students can report incidents without fear. The Chief Minister also warned that those who are guilty will be booked under POCSO Act and such cases will be handled on priority.

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