Mumbai, Sep. 12 (IANS): In a temporary relief on Tuesday, the Bombay High Court adjourned till Wednesday the hearing of an anticipatory transit bail application filed by the trustees of Ryan International Schools in the case of the death of a seven-year-old student in their Gurugram branch.
The trustees — Augustine F. Pinto, his wife Grace Pinto and their son Ryan Pinto — had on Monday filed the application seeking anticipatory transit bail to move an appropriate judicial authority in Haryana.
Arguing against the bail pleas, lawyers Manoj Dhall and Gunratan Sadavarte — representing the Parents’ Group For Students Welfare of all the group schools and the Ambedkar Students Association, said the trustees are very powerful persons who could influence witnesses and tamper with evidence.
Pleading for an adjournment, Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna S.K. Pai said that the government had received the anticipatory transit bail application papers only on Tuesday morning.
Plus, she said that since this is an inter-state matter, the Haryana government has not been given a notice and hence the anticipatory transit bail could not be granted.
She pointed out that there are precedents and Supreme Court judgements to show that the state where the crime has been committed (Haryana, in the present instance), has to be informed about such anticipatory bail applications.
Granting the plea, Justice A.S. Gadkari said: “The applicants (the Pinto couple) shall not be arrested till tomorrow (Wednesday). The matter is adjourned… on the request of the Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the Maharashtra government.”
Meanwhile, a two-member team of the Haryana Police has reached Mumbai to question the Ryan trustees at the school headquarters in Kandivali.
In their bail plea filed through lawyer Nitin Pradhan, the Pintos said that they have been in the field of education since over four decades and are running 54 schools all over India.
Barring the Pinto family, the names, whereabouts or the eligibility of the other trustees of the St Xavier’s Educational Trust — that manages a majority of the group’s schools — remain unclear yet.
The Trust is registered as a Public Charitable Trust in Maharashtra in the early 1980s.
It is also not certain as of now whether the remaining trustees stand to be implicated in the case which has snowballed into a major national issue concerning safety and security of children in private schools.
The development comes in the wake of the brutal murder of a seven-year student, Pradhuman Thakur, on September 8, in the Ryan International School in Bhondsi in Haryana’s Gurugram.
Pradhuman was found with his throat slit inside the school’s washroom within an hour after his father dropped him off in the morning.
In a related development today, hundreds of parents staged vociferous protests outside the Ryan International School branch in Sanpada, Navi Mumbai, demanding measures for safety and security of their children, on Tuesday morning.