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School CP - February 2004

Corpun file 12731


Times of India Online, Mumbai, 7 February 2004

Cities: Kolkata

HC strikes gavel against school caning

KOLKATA: Spare the rod and spoil the child is passe. Calcutta High Court on Friday banned the age-old practice of caning or beating students in state schools.

Acting on a PIL filed by advocate Tapas Bhanja, a division Bench told the director of school education to issue a circular to all state [= West Bengal] schools prohibiting caning.

He said the practice, which could lead to death, was still prevalent in the state. In the age of scientific teaching, caning or beating -- which is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- caused mental trauma.

Bhanja related the case of a student who was caned for refusing to join a teacher's tutorial home. He suggested that a committee be formed, comprising the school managing committee, students and guardians, to curb the practice.

Educationists hailed the order. "Students should be treated with compassion. Corporal punishment is never the answer," said state headmasters' association general secretary A.K. Maity.

Bennett, Coleman and Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 12729


Times of India Online, Mumbai, 8 February 2004

Cities: Kolkata

Order on child caning hailed

By Dhiman Chattopadhyay

KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court's directive on Friday imposing a blanket ban on caning children in state-run schools in West Bengal evoked a positive response from teachers and parents – most welcoming the move, others treading with caution.

TNN contacted school education officials from five capital cities to find out how the situation in Kolkata compared with those in these places.

Hyderabad, for instance, stopped caning its children back in 2002 when after a series of incidents, the AP government imposed a total ban on corporal punishment in all educational institutions and issued instructions to district education officers to ensure implementation. "Violation of the ban now attracts action under IPC," the state's principal secretary school education) said. However, according to United Teachers' Federation secretary, N Narayana, the ban is not being implemented strictly. "Some teachers, especially in the villages, resort to this practice," he said.

Chandigarh, too, enacted a law in the 1990s, prohibiting corporal punishment in schools. An official in Delhi's education department, when contacted, did not confirm whether the National Capital Region had imposed such a ban, but said a Delhi high court order had "directed the state government to ensure a ban on physical punishment of school students."

Sources in Bangalore said the Karnataka government had "orally informed" state-run schools not to resort to corporal punishment, adding that both CBSE and ICSE boards had banned corporal punishment in late 2003, after a girl died, obeying a teacher's order to run around the school ground till she collapsed.

District education officer of Ahmedabad S.B Mandlik said, "Under the grant-in-aid code 1964, any kind of physical punishment is banned in private as well as government schools. This includes caning or even tapping on the head".

In Kolkata, most students, teachers and guardians welcomed the decision. Secretary of Bengal Primary Teachers Association Kartik Saha said, "This is not the first order of its kind. While, as teachers one can never support corporal punishment, we must keep in mind that the relationship between a student and teacher is like that of a father and a child. While the former must treat the latter with love and care, a child must respect a teacher." STEA secretary Ratan Laskar however, chose to tread carefully.

"It is a welcome step. A father can slap a child if he or she misbehaves at home. Similarly, one should have some laws to tackle children who fail to behave properly," he said.

Bennett, Coleman and Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 12728


Times of India Online, 9 February 2004

Bill banning caning in schools is ready

By Srawan Shukla

LUCKNOW: Good news for parents bugged by the 'slapped cheek syndrome'.

The Union HRD ministry planned to bring in a legislation making any form of corporal punishment to students in schools a criminal offence. The bill could not be tabled in the recent session because of the other important agenda. The HRD ministry is amending the Free and Compulsory Education for Children Bill banning slapping, caning or any other form of physical punishment by teachers to school children. Violation by erring teachers would be treated as criminal act punishable under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Provisions were being made that if parents don't lodge complaints in such cases, school principal and authorities would be made responsible for informing the police to initiate criminal proceedings against guilty teachers. The bill would allow the police to take suo moto [= own-initiative] cognizance of such incidents in schools. The HRD ministry had taken this step in the wake of a flood of complaints about 'physical torture' by teachers in schools. In few cases, teachers even went to the extent of piercing parts of the body with needle or beating children till they bled, resulting in deaths.

If the central legislation is passed, teachers would think twice before touching a student as it could be treated as cognizable or non-cognizable offence depending upon the nature of injuries inflicted on children.

A senior police official said that on parents' complaints, sections 323 and 504 of the IPC can be invoked against teachers for threatening and inflicting simple injuries while those who are in a habit of using canes or other harsh measures can be dealt with under section 506 for grievous injuries or section 304 for committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

"Physical torture of children is criminal and intolerable. The government would not only ban such punishments, but also declare it a criminal offence covered under IPC," said the Union HRD minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi.

Talking to Times News Network, Dr Joshi claimed that besides this, "the bill would not only guarantee free and compulsory education to all children between 6 and 14 years, but also fix the responsibility of each state for providing them care, nutritious food and other necessities. Provisions have also been made to fine parents for not sending their wards to schools," he added.

Although GOs exist but the bill would make it mandatory for all schools, government or private, to reserve 20 per cent seats for economically backward children.

This would be particularly applicable on those private institutions, including missionary schools, which take subsidised land for schools from the government and then never fulfil the 20 per cent quota as per the land agreement.

Bennett, Coleman and Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

blob Note by C.F.: The above story evidently relates to India as a whole (the "Union"), unlike earlier ones about abolition moves in India covering certain individual states within the federation. It doesn't just apply to Uttar Pradesh (the state of which Lucknow is capital). I deduce that it has a Lucknow and not a New Delhi dateline merely because that is where Dr Joshi, whose own constituency happens to be in Uttar Pradesh, gave the interview to the reporter.

Corpun file 13040


Times of India Online, 16 February 2004

Corporal punishment: Parents to move court

MANGALORE: With the proposed meeting of the Parents Teachers Association scheduled to be held on Monday morning, to discuss the issue of corporal punishment given to the Class V students of St Agnes College, it is now learnt that some of the enraged parents have decided to move court against the headmistress and the management of the school. A criminal case is expected to be filed making the head teacher and the management respondents for the offence, on Monday.

Talking about the consequences of filing a criminal suit in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment, Advocate P.B. Rai told The Times of India that such corporal punishment in schools was illegal and liable for punishment depending on the gravity of the punishment resorted to. He also said the names of the parents who have taken the initiative to move the court, would be protected under the provisions of the law.

It is but natural that the parents may not be forthcoming due to the fear of the action taken by the teachers on the children in due course of time, he said, adding that at the same time, they cannot afford to be mute spectators to the misdoings of the teachers and head mistress in the school. Hence in the public interest, the suit will be filed on Monday evening, he said.

Asked if he was contacted by the school management, Rai said he had received a telephone call on Saturday but was not able to recollect the caller's name.

Copyright 2004 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

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