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School CP - December 1998

Corpun file 3742

Indian Express, Bombay, 4 December 1998

Govt to clarify stand on corporal punishment

Express News Service

NEW DELHI, December 3: The Delhi High Court today directed the Delhi government to clarify its stand on corporal punishment for children in school, following a petition by the Parents Forum for Meaningful Education (PFME) demanding a total ban on the practice.

The Centre has already filed an affidavit in the case saying it was opposed to this form of punishment. Since the issue fell under the Delhi School Education Act and rules, 1973, the decision on either its continuation or banning in Delhi schools could be taken only by the Delhi government, the affidavit said.

The division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Justice K.S. Gupta listed the matter for hearing next on February 6. It has asked the state government to file its affidavit to make its stand clear, since rule 37 of the Education Act seems in favour of it.

Delhi Government counsel Jayant Bhushan, however, sought some time from the court, saying the copy of the Centre's affidavit was delivered to him only today.

The petitioner's counsel P.S. Sharda said there was no justification for inflicting corporal punishment like whipping, caning and beating of children -- in classrooms as it left deep scars on the psyche of the children. Moreover, this kind of punishment was not meted out even to those who committed heinous crimes in our society, he said.

Terming it illegal, arbitrary, violative of the spirit of the Constitution and the rights of the child as acceded to by the Union Government on December 11, 1992, the petitioner informed the court that at least two children had died after being administered corporal punishment in their schools.

The drop-out rate from schools was on the rise because the children who received corporal punishment eventually lost interest in studies, the petition added. "Both the Union and Delhi governments should establish redressal forums for preventing the abuse of the dignity and self-respect of children in schools and define such parameters within a given time frame," the petitioner appealed.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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