The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government on Wednesday to submit a progress report on its probe into the death of three students of a residential school at Virar in Palghar district of the state in 2014. A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by parents of the three boys, all aged 14, who had allegedly escaped from their private residential school in August 2014 after being admonished by a teacher on their poor performance in an exam. Their bodies were found a day after their escape in a river close to the school.
The medical report said the children died of drowning, and the charge sheet filed by the Virar police claimed that the students committed suicide. However, their parents filed the plea in HC seeking that the probe is transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The parents told the bench on Wednesday that they suspected some foul play, and that the CBI must be directed to inquire into the role of the teacher who had admonished the children, forcing them to escape from the school premises. They also sought that the authorities probe how the children managed to escape from the school premises despite security guards and other safety arrangements being in place there at that time. The petitioners, through their lawyer Kishor Redekar, also alleged during the court hearing that the children might have been "killed by some teacher at the school".
The court said it was not inclined to transfer the probe into the case to the CBI since the medical report and the charge sheet had ruled out any foul play on part of the teachers or other school authorities. "Why will a teacher kill some students? The medical report and charge sheet also rule out any foul play. We are not inclined to order for the probe to be transferred based just on your allegations," the bench said. The court, however, directed the state to place on record the progress report of the police's probe on the next date of hearing. It also asked the state to put forth its side of arguments on the next date.
(With inputs from agencies.)