INDIA - Policy against corporal punishment planned
Special Correspondent, The Hindu, November 18, 2007

Panel to submit final report in January 2008

Subgroups formed to look at related issues

Bangalore: Even as we have travelled far beyond the age when sparing the rod was regarded the surest way of spoiling a child, corporal punishment has not disappeared from our schools. It continues to be a norm in mild forms in several schools, and every now and then there are horrifying cases of physical abuse, sometimes even leading to the death of the child.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has now constituted a working group to debate the question of protecting children against violence and corporal punishment in schools and evolve a policy. The panel, headed by Dipa Dixit, member, NCPCR, is expected to submit its final report on January 31, 2008. The committee held its first meeting on October 22 and constituted subgroups to look at related topics such as existing rules, strategies for advocacy and the legal issues involved.


Niranjan Aradhya from the Department of Child Law in the National Law School of India University here, the only member of the working group from south India, underlined the need for a specific law to make parents and teachers legally accountable for violence against children. “There is a need to spell out this liability in clear terms of law to promote respect for the law in terms of deterrence,” he said.

Dr. Aradhya, who has worked extensively on the role of the community in protecting child rights, is part of the subgroup that will be look at linkages between panchayati raj institutions, school development and monitoring committees and other community-based institutions and the education departments of States. The working group is expected to meet against in mid-December.

NCPCR definition

In an earlier direction, the NCPCR had defined corporal punishment as involving:

  • “rapping on the knuckles,
  • running on the school grounds,
  • kneeling down for hours,
  • standing up for long hours,
  • sitting like a chair,
  • being beaten with a scale,
  • pinched and slapped,
  • child sexual abuse,
  • torture,
  • locking up children alone in classrooms,
  • electric shock
  • and all other acts leading to insult, humiliation, physical and mental injury, and even death”.
Calling it a “fundamental breach of human rights”, the national body had called for a sustained campaign to banish the “normal” practice of corporal punishment in schools.


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