GS Paper - 2 (Education)

Three private school teachers in Pune have been booked under the Juvenile Justice Act over allegedly thrashing three Class 10 students, and threatening to grade them poorly in internal assessments.

What is corporal punishment?

  1. By definition, corporal punishment means punishment that is physical in nature. While there is no statutory definition of ‘corporal punishment’ targeting children in the Indian law, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 prohibits ‘physical punishment’ and ‘mental harassment’ under Section 17(1) and makes it a punishable offence under Section 17(2).
  2. According to the Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishment in Schools issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), physical punishment is understood as any action that causes pain, hurt/injury and discomfort to a child, however light.
  3. Mental harassment, meanwhile, is understood as any non-physical treatment that is detrimental to the academic and psychological well-being of a child including sarcasm, calling names and scolding using humiliating adjectives, intimidation, using derogatory remarks for the child, ridiculing or belittling a child, shaming the child and more.

What are provisions under the law?

  1. Section 17 of the Right to Education Act, 2009, imposes an absolute bar on corporal punishment.
  2. It prohibits physical punishment and mental harassment to children and prescribes disciplinary action to be taken against the guilty person in accordance with the service rules applicable to such person. Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act prescribes punishment for cruelty to children.