Corporal punishment: Hope after “Hople Classes” row   

The beating of a student ruthlessly by a teacher at a private coaching centre “ hope classes” in Srinagar has though attracted the attention and intervention of both the district administration and as well as coaching centres association but the real concern should have been the laxity shown by the Jammu & Kashmir government in enforcing the law related to corporal punishment under Indian Penal code even after the extension of the central laws to Jammu & Kashmir since downgraded from a state to union territory While the fact remains that most of the state and union territory governments of the country claim to follow the law related to corporal punishment in schools under the Indian penal code , but laxity shown in the implementation of corporal punishment related law not only in Jammu & Kashmir but also in other states and union territories is the cause for occurrence and re-occurrence of the incidents like the one witnessed at “ Hope Classes” coaching centre at Parraypora Srinagar. While the implementation of the law related to corporal punishment can settle the issue once forever, unfortunately there are also certain flaws in the law related to corporal punishment itself. Though this law should have come into force immediately after the scraping of the Ranbir panel code but after the abrogation article 370 and extension of all central laws to Jammu & Kashmir the central government did not bother to take a call on implementation of the law related to corporal punishment in Jammu & Kashmir. While this  law has been hardly ever implemented in reality in other parts of the country where children are still subjected to corporal punishment for misconduct, misbehabiour and non cooperation, the Jammu & Kashmir Government too has taken a very lenient view over the implementation of this law even after the extension of Indian Penal Code to Jammu & Kashmir . As far as the corporal punishment law is concerned all children under the age of seven under the Indian Penal Code Section 83 are supposed to be exempted from criminal liability for the reasons of being in the age of innocence besides being incapable of understanding complex issues, but heads of the educational institutions under section 88 of Indian Penal Code are allowed to use brutal punishment on students upto a certain point and interestingly the head of the Institution  himself/herself becomes the judge by having the authority to determine the extent to which he/she can carry on the penalty. Since the head of the institution himself / herself is virtually the judge, the students are at his/her mercy and no other person is authorised to supervise the delivery of punishment and this dilutes the provisions in the law for the safety of the student.  On the contrary using excessive force and punishing a student for an unjustifiable cause is prohibited under the section 89 of the IPC. The law also says that incidents outside the scope of good faith are prohibited. So in case of “Hope Classes” Srinagar coaching centre incident ultimately the intent of the teacher to use force and behaviour of the child within and outside the premises of the “Hope Classes” coaching centre would most likely guide the probing authorities to arrive at a fair conclusion which could be used even as a guideline over the issue of corporal punishment in schools.

 

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