A Supreme Court Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu and Justice A.K. Sikri has demanded an explanation from the Centre and the State Governments with respect to lack of stringent guidelines to prevent sexual abuse of children in the school premises throughout the country, in view of the rising incidents of such abuse. Notices were hence issued to the Centre and the State Governments.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer, Vineet Dhanda, which had asserted that the lack of liability on the part of the educational institutions in such cases is the biggest glitch in the system, even though the offence occurs in their premises. He also submitted that the Police authorities put n efforts to defend such institutions to fulfill their own vested interests.
The petitioner argued, “It is the prime duty of schools, the government and the administration to protect precious lives of children from being scarred as a result of such dastardly acts. But in the present scenario they are not doing their duty properly as a result of which the sexual crimes against the children in schools and other educational institutions have witnessed a sharp rise. It is the duty of schools, government and public administration to ensure the safety of innocent children.”
He further stated, “Throughout the country, parents work tirelessly to provide the best education to their children. The schools show no mercy in charging money for exorbitant donations for admissions to high amount of fees. But when it comes to the safety of the children in schools, no responsibility whatsoever is shown by the school administration in the protection of children which is resulting in the increase of sexual abuse cases.”
The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, Prayas and UNICEF, 2007 reported that out of 12,447 children (hailing from all strata of society), 53% reported sexual abuse. Out of 12,447 children, 21% reported severe sexual abuse.
Ten such instances from throughout the country, including three from Bangalore, were cited by him in the Court. His petition hence prayed to issue an appropriate writ order or direction to Union of India to make appropriate statutory laws laying down rules, regulations and guidelines for the protection of rights of school and college-going students from the menace of sexual and mental abuse throughout the country.