A sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district was arrested on Tuesday for alleged sexual harassment of minor tribal girls at a government-run hostel, officials said.
The incident took place on Sunday when SDM Sunil Kumar Jha went to inspect the hostel for tribal girls, as per a complaint filed against him. Following the complaint, he has also been suspended, the officials said.
The accused allegedly committed obscene acts with the minor students during the inspection, Superintendent of Police Agam Jain said quoting the complaint by the hostel’s superintendent.
Based on the complaint, Jha was arrested and a case registered against him under Indian Penal Code sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), and relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from of Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Jain said.
According to the FIR, the accused allegedly touched and kissed the girls, aged 11 to 13, who were staying in the hostel and asked questions about their menstruation cycle.
On the basis of a report submitted by the Jhabua district collector, Indore divisional commissioner Pawan Kumar Sharma has suspended Jha, a deputy collector rank officer, under the MP government’s Civil Services (Service Conduct) Rules 1965, citing carelessness and gross negligence in performing official duties.
Meanwhile, Additional Public Prosecutor Suraj Bairagi said after the arrest, Jha was produced before the POCSO court of special judge R K Sharma who remanded the accused in judicial custody.Jha’s bail plea will be heard on Wednesday, the prosecutor said.