‘Corporal punishment is never a solution to guide a child’; Madras HC directs State Govt. to implement guidelines for elimination of corporal punishment in schools

Madras High Court

Madras High Court: In a writ petition filed by a father praying to direct the State to implement the Guidelines for Elimination of Corporal Punishment in Schools (‘Guidelines’) provided by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (‘NCPCR’) and further reliefs sought for are relating to grant of nominal compensation regarding the incident occurred to his daughter in the school, S.M. Subramaniam, J. has issued the following directions:

  • The Principal Secretary to Government, School Education Department was directed to implement the Guidelines provided by NCPCR.

  • The guidelines are directed to be communicated to all the Educational Institutions across the State of Tamil Nadu and to the District Educational Authorities, who in turn, are directed to sensitise the Authorities, to follow the guidelines scrupulously to protect the mental health of the children, studying in the schools.

  • Suitable instructions are directed to the District Educational Authorities to conduct Seminars/Awareness Camps etc., to create awareness about the guidelines issued by NCPCR.

  • In the event of any complaint in this regard, action is to be initiated scrupulously by the Competent Authorities. In case of any lapse, dereliction or negligence, the Authorities are subjected to departmental disciplinary proceedings under the Service Rules.

  • The idea is not only for elimination of corporal punishment in schools, any indirect form of harassing the children or circumstances affecting the mental health of the children, are also to be taken note of and suitable remedial measures are to be provided by the Competent Educational Authorities.

  • To effectively implement the guidelines, the Principal Secretary to Government was directed to command all the District Educational Authorities to constitute Monitoring Committees in each school headed by the Head of the Institution, parents, teachers, senior students etc., as decided by the Government. Further, such Monitoring Committees were directed to ensure that the guidelines are implemented scrupulously and any untoward incidents or any different behaviour of the staff members and the children are brought to the notice of the Authorities, for initiation of remedial measures.

  • The Principal Secretary to Government was directed to issue the guidelines in consonance with the Clauses 7.8 and 7.9 of the Guidelines for Elimination of Corporal Punishment in Schools.

  • The consolidated Circular/Instructions were directed to be issued, within a period of five weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.

The Court noted that Corporal punishment of any form is completely unacceptable and prohibited under Section 17(1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

Further, the Court said that a child in his / her growing years require a safe and caring environment. Any untoward experiences for the child may have a long-lasting unpleasant impression, capable of shaping the characteristic of the child in unpalatable ways. Corporal punishment is never the solution to guide the child.

The Court suggested that children must be inspired by the adults’ respectful and dignified conduct. Controlling the child with unjustifiable measures will serve no purpose and do more harm than good. Patience is the key quality required for handling children.

The Court noted that Child rights are globally recognised and India is a signatory in several accords. Therefore, it is said that the well-being, mental health, environment in schools, are to be closely monitored and to be maintained by the competent authorities of the Education Department in the State.

The Court said that Children must be taught to acquire multi-dimensional knowledge, which would be of greater assistance to transform them as good citizens. Good citizen alone can contribute for the development of our great Nation. Therefore, implementation of such guidelines issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights is of paramount importance.

Thus, the Court issued certain directions and listed the matter for reporting compliance on 14-06-2024.

[Kamatchi Shanker Arumugam v. State of Tamil Nadu, WP No.4507 of 2024, Order dated 23-04-2024]

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