Idukki, students own district!
Filed Under: Lifestyle | Posted: 01/14/2008 at 1:39AM
Comments | Region: India
In Kerala’s Idukki district, you could be taken to task for making an insulting remark against a child, or even cracking a joke. Yes, Idukki has been declared the first child-friendly district in India, having banned corporal punishment in all educational institutions.
It has become India’s first district to officially pledge to stamp out corporal punishment in schools, which thrives across the country despite being banned in some states.
The district has presented to the Centre detailed plans, using which it hopes to become “free of corporal punishment” in a year.
All schools will have to constitute an internal body to listen to the grievances of children. And students can complain against teachers who violate the rule.
If the internal body finds an allegation to be true, it can approach the district child welfare council, which can take the accused to the court.
All new school buildings will have to be designed to create a homely atmosphere. The idea is that the young ones should feel comfortable.
Borrowing terminology commonly used in reference to the elimination of clinical diseases, the district has said it will not allow a single teacher or administrator who beats a child to escape punishment.
Physical abuse of children was banned by the Supreme Court in 2000. Delhi High Court upheld the ban the same year, while Calcutta High Court banned caning of students in 2004. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh amended their education laws, in 2003 and 2002, to ban corporal punishment.
But a massive countrywide study by the Centre in 2006 revealed that the crime is rampant in every single district of the country. The report on child abuse by the ministry of women and child development revealed that two out of three children in India are beaten at school.
In a voluntary promise to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, India’s apex child rights body, Idukki has said it will not leave a single school untouched.
Kerala does not have a law against corporal punishment. But the district will use Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act — cruelty to a juvenile or child — to punish culprits with a jail term of up to six months, with a possible fine in addition.
Complaint boxes will be placed outside every school — public and private — where students can register cases of abuse. The boxes will be opened only by the child welfare board.