Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights held to have acted beyond its powers

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court: In a recent judgment passed by Shaji P. Chaly, J., the Court disposed of an interim order passed by the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights when the Commission acted beyond the scope of their powers.

The aggrieved petitioners are the Principal and the Secretary of St. Thomas Central School, Mukkolakkal, Thirvuananthapuram. The school in a disciplinary committee voted to suspend a student from their school on the account of his unacceptable conduct on date 21-7-2017 and also for another misconduct a few days later for a photograph that surfaced on a social media platform ‘ Instagram ‘ where he was seen with a girl student from the same school in a compromising position. This decision was challenged by Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the authority passed an interim order stating-

“The first respondent shall permit the complainant child to attend the class and continue his education. He shall be given sufficient time and topics to complete his internal assessment on various subjects and a fair assessment of the same shall be done from the school, without any discrimination or harassment by anyone. The child’s father shall make a formal request to the 1st respondent for the above purpose along with a copy of this order. The 5th respondent shall enquire into the matter and file a detailed report within 15 days.”

The same interim order being challenged in this case by the school authorities, with the contention that the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, while passing the impugned order, had gone beyond its power prescribed under Section 14 of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

Reliance was placed on the landmark judgments in Vice-Chancellor, Guru Ghasidas University v. Craig Mcleod, (2012) 11 SCC 275, Director (Studies), Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management v. Vaibhav Singh Chauhan,  (2009) 1 SCC 59 and Varanasaya Sanskrit Viswavidyalaya v. Dr Rajkishore Tripathi,  (1977) 1 SCC 279, which concluded that the principal of a school is the guardian of the school, who is vested with powers to take necessary actions to maintain the discipline and morality in the school. So, the Court by exercising conferred right under Article 226 of the Constitution quashed the impugned order, thereby forfeiting the relief granted to the student under the said interim order. [Sebastian T. Joseph v. Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights,  2017 SCC OnLine Ker 21669, decided on 12-12-2017]

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