2014 student death case: Sherwood principal, 2 others found guilty of negligence, sent to 2 years in jail
The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court in Nainital has convicted Principal Amandeep Sandhu, Infirmary in-charge sister Payal Paul and Warden Ravi Kumar of criminal negligence in the death of class 9 student Shan Prajapati in 2014.
All three have been sentenced to two years in jail and also fined Rs 50,000 each. The three detained were later released on interim bail.
In November 2014, Shan, a student from Nepal, died of pneumonia and septicemia while on his way from a hospital in Haldwani to a higher center in Noida, where he was declared brought dead.
Shaan’s mother Neena Shrestha accused the school authorities of criminal negligence for failing to provide him with timely medical aid. She said her son was not taken to the hospital on November 13 as claimed by the school. “When we saw him in the morgue, he was still in uniform. How is it possible if he was admitted to ICU? The hospital provides clothes,” she said.
In his complaint, Shrestha also said that he was first informed about his son’s illness at around 10 am on November 13 and the principal had called him saying that they would take him to Delhi for treatment. He told the police that he agreed on the condition that he was transferred to an ambulance with full medical facilities. But he alleged that no doctor was present and the number, which belonged to the driver of the ambulance, was given to him as the doctor’s number.
Later, a Nil FIR was registered against the school in Noida under Section 304A (negligent cause of death) of the IPC and the case was transferred to the concerned police station in Nainital.
Sandhu had denied all the allegations at the time, saying: “The boy was ill earlier as well. He had asthma. After falling ill on November 11, he was treated at the school. Later we took him to a private hospital in Haldwani. The next day, when his condition did not improve, we decided to take him to Noida.
Speaking to The Indian Express, advocate Harish C Pandey, representing the complainant in the case, confirmed that all three were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in the case.
On November 9, 2014, Shah had reported uneasiness. According to the allegations, the school authorities only admitted him to the hospital and did not even call the doctor. “Four days later when his health deteriorated, they took him to a hospital in Haldwani. There was no responsible person accompanying the patient and only a Class IV staff was sent to escort him. When the condition worsened, they decided to shift her to a higher center in Delhi. However, the boy died on the way,” said Pandey.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Shrestha said: “This matter will be remembered by all educational institutions both in India and Nepal. Child health care will no longer be neglected in schools, especially boarding schools. It is expected that now parents will be informed and updated about the health of their children.
On the legal front, she said it was difficult for her to make countless trips from Nepal to Delhi and Nainital and make several rounds of the Indian embassy. “I was a single woman who had just lost her only child. Every time I had to explain the same things to the authorities. But I got a lot of help and support in India too. I met the then Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and the then Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat, who helped me a lot.