The Central Information on Friday endorsed the guidelines laid down by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), for Eliminating Corporal Punishment in Schools.
CIC Prof. Sridhar Acharyulu directed the School Boards to issue guidelines to the schools affiliated to them, stipulating that ‘corporal punishment-free environment’ would be one of the conditions for granting affiliation/recognition/NOC to them. It also directed them to stipulate that ‘practice of physical punishment/mental harassment’ would be one of the grounds for withdrawal of affiliation/recognition/NOC granted to them.
The Commission was hearing an appeal filed by Mr. Bhramanand Mishra, who had sought a copy of the inquiry report regarding the alleged physical beating of a student by a teacher, Mr. Yagya Dutt Arya at KVS, Pilibhit. The information had been denied, claiming it to be third party information.
Before the Commission, Mr. Mishra submitted that he needed the information so that his daughter could secure the custody of her children in the marital dispute against Mr. Arya.
The Commission ruled the denial of information as unwarranted, observing, “Even if section 8(1)(j) is assumed to be invoked, the school should have considered that imposing corporal punishment on children is against several laws including Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, i.e., a public wrong, its disclosure has relationship with public activity and it will be in public interest, the revelation of which would not cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual, besides larger public interest is involved in disclosure only.”
It hence ruled that even if the information was considered to be third party information, its disclosure would be justified in comparative public interest.
The CIC also considered several provisions, and literature to opine that corporal punishment is not recognised by law, and that the same is violative of the right to live with dignity. It hence directed the State Governments and UT Administrations to designate appropriate local authority to redress grievances relating to corporal punishment and discrimination.
Such local authority, it ruled, should be a member of District Child Protection Society (DCPS) which exists under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) and is headed by the District Collector/Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner. It further endorsed the following mechanism for dealing with such instances:
The Commission thereafter directed the KVS, headquarters and regional directors to voluntarily disclose formulation of a policy to eliminate corporal punishment, as advised by the NCPCR. It was also directed to disclose details of incidents of corporal punishments and action taken against liable teachers, amount of compensation paid to the victims, every year, beginning with 2015-16, within three months. Compensation to be paid to the victim was ordered to be deducted from the salary of the liable teacher.
It recommended that each school publishes such a report every year. “It will go a long way in making school a place of pleasant learning free from assaults and humiliations,” the CIC observed.
Read the order here.