Supreme Court Seeks Response Of Union & States On Plea For Guidelines To Prevent Sexual Harassment Of Students In Schools
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice in a writ petition seeking protection of children from any kind of harassment including the sexual harassment being carried out at educational institutions.
The bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and CT Ravikumar sought responses of the Union and the States.
The petition which was filed by Nakkheeran Gopal, Editor, Publisher and Printer of Nakkheeran Tamil Bi-Weekly, a Tamil Investigative Journal, has also sought for guidelines for the educational institutions for the protection of the children and also for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of Children at the educational institutions.
It has been argued in the petition that it is a fundamental right of a child to engage and study in an environment where he/she feels safe and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment.
"Children are the future of human civilization. Protecting their basic rights is of utmost concern. When their safety is at stake especially at educational institutions, which is supposedly the safest shelter, and that too during this tough time, it indicates immediate concerns and measures for intervention are of paramount significance. This calls for the implementation of legislative actions and community-based interventions through virtual media to prevent a further rise in the statistics and to ensure child protection. Otherwise, this would leave a regressive impression posing a substantial threat to the future," the plea states.
Petitioner in the plea has further stated that protecting children against sexual abuse is essential to ensure the constitutional right to dignity of children provided under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which is compromised when they are exposed to predators.
"Increased online time can lead to grooming and both online and offline exploitation. Under these circumstances, children can also themselves be coerced into becoming tools in furtherance of illegal and dangerous activities," petition further states in this regards.
The petitioner has further argued that inspire of alarming rate in the offence against the children especially at school premises, till date no specific mandate or the law or the guidelines have been issued by the respective States.
"With respect that the relevant organization, including Educational Institution,remains a crucial department in the State Government.Any lapse on the part of the educational institution would be considered the lapse on the part of the State Government. Thus, on this score, there is a vicarious liability upon the State Government to implement any law for the well-being and also for the protection of the children in their respective states," plea states.
Case Title: Nakkheeran Gopal v UOI & Ors| WP (C) 897/2021