Affirming the ruling of the High Court, the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the appeal submitted by a 56-year-old school teacher and asked him to serve a remaining sentence of 10 years and four months in prison for molesting 10 children at a primary school in 2019.
The SC passed the judgment on April 4.
Appellant Dil Bahadur Chhetri Neopani from Tsholingkhar gewog, Tsirang was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the Tsirang dzongkhag court in early July 2021. He was found guilty of the fourth-degree felony and sentenced to three years each for 10 counts of molestation. The court also ordered him to pay a compensation of Nu 90,000 to each victim, which amounts to Nu 900,000.
Dissatisfied with the lower court’s ruling, the convict’s lawyer appealed to the High Court stating that he was not guilty of molesting and the parents of the students agreed not to accept compensation from the accused.
The high court on November 30 partially overturned the lower court’s ruling and sentenced him to a concurrent prison term of 10 years and six months by increasing his offence from fourth degree to second-degree felony. He was found guilty of touching the children inappropriately. However, the court upheld the compensation aspect.
Dil Bahadur Chhetri Neopani was arrested on November 8, 2019, after police and dzongkhag’s child protection unit received complaints about molestation and harassment. He was in detention for two months.
He was serving as the officiating vice principal when 10 children studying in classes II and III then complained of bad touch. The incident happened between February and November 2019.