The Madras High Court on Friday ruled that teachers cannot be held responsible for the suicide of students pulled up by them for committing mistakes.
It also mooted psychological counselling to students in the age group of 15 to 19 years to help them cope with academic pressure.
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Justice R M T Teeka Raaman gave the ruling while dismissing an appeal by police against a sessions court's December 8, 2005 order acquitting three teachers of a government school in Kanyakumari district who were charged with abetting the suicide of a class XII student.
"When teachers, in the interest of the institution and the students, take stern action against them to correct any mistake or to cultivate good habits and get rid of bad ones, such acts cannot be said to have abetted the suicide," the judge said in his order.
Referring to the judgements of the Supreme Court and the high courts, he held that teachers were entitled to correct the students.
The students cannot take the extreme step of committing suicide merely on the ground of getting less marks in exams. They can always seek revaluation, he said.
Citing growing incidents of suicides by students, the judge said that the present education system puts a lot of pressure on adolescents aged between 15 and 17 years studying in Class XI and XII.
In this process, as a corollary event, majority acts of discipline by the teachers cause a mental imbalance to the adolescent agehood.
Hence, it was time that the state government evaluates and formulates a scheme for the physiological evaluation of students studying in classes XI and XII as well as in the first and second year of college.
Psychological counselling will help the students meet the pressure of higher studies, the judge said.
He directed the court registry to forward a copy of his judgement to the Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary Education and Collegiate Education Secretary to formulate such a scheme and in the appropriate cases, monitor steps to be taken to weed out the self-destructive behaviour of pupils.