New Delhi, Sep 10 : The ministry of women and child development has proposed imprisonment of up to seven years for teachers indulging in corporal punishment in schools.
In a cabinet note prepared to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, the ministry has sought to include a new section on corporal punishment commensurate with the provisions of the Indian Penal Code for "hurt" and "grievous hurt" offences.
The amendment could be put up for the Union cabinet's approval in a few weeks and will be placed in Parliament in the winter session, reports Mail Today.
"The proposed section 85, which could be incorporated in the Juvenile Justice Act, spells a jail term of up to "one year or fine or both" in case a child is hurt and emotionally distressed. For every subsequent offence of this nature, the offender can be imprisoned for up to three years", says the report quoting an official.
For causing grievous hurt or severe mental trauma to a child, the offender could be liable for rigorous imprisonment of five years and fine and a subsequent conviction could lead to a jail term of up to seven years and fine.
"Second conviction for both levels of hurt (emotional and physical) would also mean dismissal from service for a school teacher or someone working in a children's home or orphanage", says the source.
While parents have wholeheartedly supported this legal amendment, principals of reputed schools say the punishment is excessive.
"Government will have to define a system how such cases (of corporal punishment) should be investigated and there should be a safeguard so that the child is not victimised later on", says Ameeta Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road, Delhi.
"I am not in favour of imprisonment of teachers if they resort to corporal punishment. A teacher punishes a child with good intention and not to hurt him or her. Corporal punishment is sometimes important to maintain discipline. I understand there are cases of excessive punishment, but because of one instance the whole education system is being berated. This is unfair", says V K Williams, principal, Mount Carmel School, Anand Niketan, Delhi.