Children have the right to protection from all forms of violence, abuse and maltreatment. Corporal punishment in any setting is a violation of that right. The CRC to which the Government of India is a signatory, states that learning environments should respects children’s dignity and discipline in school should be administered in a manner consistent with children’s dignity.
Physical and other forms of humiliating and abusive treatment are not only a violation of the child’s right to protection from violence, but also counter-productive to learning.
The National Policy on Education (1986, modified 1992) states that “corporal punishment will be firmly excluded from the educational systems” but only 17 states/union territories in India have prohibited corporal punishment in schools.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (No 35 of 2009) (26 August, 2009) prohibits physical punishment and mental harrasment to the to the child.
The Act states:
(1) No child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment.
(2) Whoever contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be liable to disciplinary action under the service rules applicable to such persons. The enactment of the new legislation is the first step towards the universal prohibition of corporal punishment in schools and other educational institutions.
The rules for implementation are in the process of being finalized.
Corporal punishment- A Breach of Rights
Corporal punishment in schools, both government as well as private, is deeply ingrained as a tool to discipline children and as a normal action. All forms of corporal punishment are a fundamental breach of human rights.
“Corporal punishment in all settings wherever the child is, should be banned through legislation, in line with the recommendations in the UN Study on Violence against Children. Any form of violence against children is never justifiable or acceptable. It teaches the child that violence is acceptable and so perpetuates the cycle of violence.
Eliminating corporal punishment in all settings is also a key strategy for reducing and preventing all forms of violence in society."
Karin Hulshof- UNICEF India Representative.
The provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 may be inadequate in that disciplinary action will be determined by “service rules”.
The threat of such disciplinary action, of possibly losing their job, however may not be enough to deter teachers. Equal protection demands that the criminal law should be available and enforced.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act (2000, amended 2006) provides punishment for cruelty to juveniles or children both in and beyond childcare institutions. The Act makes no exceptions and intends to punish cruelty by those in authority and applies equally to parents, guardians and teachers.
In August 2007, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights wrote to all chief secretaries of states, providing detailed guidelines recommending that there should be no gradations while judging corporal punishment. The Commission noted that “small acts” should not be condoned, but nipped in the bud, as they actually lead to gross violations. (Approximately 12 states/ union territories responded and initiated measures based on the guidelines).
All You Want to Know About Corporal Punishment
What is Corporal Punishment and why should it matter to us?
Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools of Assam
State announces its intention of banning corporal punishment in all its schools.
Why is Challenging all Corporal Punishment so Important?
We need to think of challenging corporal punishment not just as a child protection issue, although it is sadly true that corporal punishment kills and maims children.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) requires states to protect children from “all forms of physical or mental violence” while in the care of parents or others (article 19).
It requires discipline in schools to be “administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity” (article 28). Children everywhere must never be subjected to “torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (article 37).
Is Corporal Punishment Really Needed?
Child radio reporters on a panel discussion on ‘Shishu Tirtho’ programme voiced their concerns on corporal punishment..
Gazette of Right To Education Bill 2009
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
Important Reports Related to Corporal Punishment
These downloadable reports give you an overview to legal, ethical and social issues related to corporal punishment in India.
Progress on Banning Corporal Punishment in India
These downloadable reports give the overview of status of banning corporal punishment in India.
Media Voices that Highlighted Issue of Corporal Punishment
This downloadable report compiles media stories angles which highlight issue of corporal punishment with sensitivity and from a child-rights perspective.