Teacher and school, both are liable to pay compensation if a child has been subjected to corporal punishment

Central Information Commission (CIC): While passing a landmark judgment which will render relief to the victims of corporal punishment in schools, CIC held that teacher and school, both are liable to pay compensation if a child has been subjected to corporal punishment. Said judgment was passed by CIC while hearing an RTI application by a person who had sought details of inquiry into corporal punishment of a student by a teacher of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan at Pilibhit. Earlier, the information was denied by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan on the ground that it was third party information. Before CIC, applicant submitted that he needed the information so that his daughter could secure custody of children in her marital dispute against her husband, who was the teacher of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan against whom inquiry was initiated. While pondering upon the issue of corporal punishment, CIC observed that corporal punishment in schools in India is a serious problem. It was further observed that provisions of Constitution of India, IPC, Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, provide for protection of children from cruelty and from being subjected to punishment in schools. “Even if Section 8(1)(j) is assumed to be invoked, the school should have considered that imposing corporal punishment on children is against several laws including Juvenile Justice Act, 2000,” noted the Commission. CIC also noted that corporal punishment is a public wrong and, “its disclosure has relationship with public activity and it will be in public interest, the revelation of which would not cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual, besides larger public interest is involved in disclosure only.” In this context, CIC also laid emphasis upon Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishment in Schools prepared by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). After perusing the material on record, Commission directed 1,099  Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to voluntarily disclose whether they had framed policy on corporal punishment, details of incidents, compensation liable and paid every year starting from this academic year within three months. Other school boards like CBSE and ICSC were also asked to take suo moto cognizance of incidents of corporal punishment in schools and set up multi-disciplinary panels for inquiry. “The KVS also should have a policy of paying some amount as compensation to the victim children and that amount should be deducted from the salary of liable teacher,” added the Commission while concluding the judgment. [Bhramanand Mishra v. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, 2016 SCC OnLine CIC 9389, decided on July 22, 2016]

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