Defend Legal Action Against Teacher Who Slapped A Student

If a teacher slaps a student in school, and the parents of the child take legal action against the teacher, what can be done to defend such a case?

Answer (1)

Shagun Srivastava

Shagun Srivastava

  • Sector-1, Noida

As per my knowledge you can contest case or ask for settlement/ out of court settlement. As the evidence is against the teacher. The adjudicatory authorities alone have authority to hear complaints, try the contentions and draw the conclusions as liability and penalty. The corporal punishment, especially envisages a legal process and appropriate authority to fix the guilt according to established and enforceable law. Not otherwise. It is both a crime and a civil wrong for holding some one guilty and inflicting penalty, without legal authority. II. Kinds of Punishments In Schools There are three types of corporal punishments in schools.

Physical Punishments:

  1. Making the children stand as a wall chair (Goda Kurchee in Telugu),
  2. Keeping the school bags on their heads,
  3. Making them stand for the whole day in the sun,
  4. Make the children kneel down and do the work and then enter the class room
  5. Making them stand on the bench,
  6. Making them raise hands,
  7. Hold a pencil in their mouth and stand,
  8. Holding their ears with hands passed under the legs,
  9. Tying of the children's hands,
  10. Making them to do sit-ups (Gunjeelu),
  11. Caning and pinching and
  12. Twisting the ears (Chevulu pindadam)

Emotional Punishments:

  1. Slapping by the opposite sex
  2. Scolding abusing and humiliating
  3. Label the child according to his or her misbehaviour and sent him or her around the school
  4. Make them stand on the back of the class and to complete the work.
  5. Suspending them for a couple of days
  6. Pinning paper on their back and labeling them "I am a fool", "I am a donkey" etc.
  7. Teacher takes the child to every class she goes and humiliates the child.
  8. Removing the shirts of the boys.

Negative Reinforcement

  1. Detention during the break and lunch.
  2. Locking them in a dark room
  3. Call for parents or asking the children to bring explanatory letters from the parents
  4. Sending them home or keeping the children outside the gate
  5. Making the children sit on the floor on the classroom.
  6. Making the child clean the premises.
  7. Making the child run around the building or in the playground.
  8. Sending the children to principals.
  9. Making them to teach in the class.
  10. Making them to stand till the teacher comes.
  11. Giving oral warnings and letters in the diary or calendar
  12. Threatening to give TC for the child.
  13. Asking them to miss games or other activities
  14. Deducting marks.
  15. Treating the three late comings equal to one absent.
  16. Giving excessive imposition.
  17. Make the children pay fines.
  18. Not allowing them into the class.
  19. Sitting on the floor for one period, day, week and month.
  20. Placing black marks on their disciplinary charts. H

owever, law basically does not agree with any excessive punishment to beings, which would be definitely a violation of personal right. The research studies show that the theory of corporal punishment was an ineffective discipline strategy with children of all ages and it is often proved to be dangerous. The punishment of such kind leads to create anger, resentment and low self-esteem. It teaches them violence and revenge as solutions to problems and perpetuates itself, as children might imitate what the adults are doing.According to law, the adjudicatory authorities alone have authority to hear complaints, try the contentions and draw the conclusions as liability and penalty. The corporal punishment, especially envisages a legal process and appropriate authority to fix the guilt according to established and enforceable law. Not otherwise. It is both a crime and a civil wrong for holding some one guilty and inflicting penalty, without legal authority. In India, the education system itself promotes corporal punishment.

Teacher is assumed a respectful and thus powerful position. This power includes power to inflict corporal punishment. Public Interest Litigation was filed by Parents Forum and Meaningful Education (AIR 2001 Del 212), challenging the provisions of the Delhi School Education Rules 1973 providing for corporal punishment to a student. The rule 37 states the form of disciplinary measures as may be adopted as detention during the break, for neglect of class work, but no detention shall be beyond school hours, secondly to those students who attained age of 14 years as a fine, expulsion and rustication. It states that corporal punishment may be given by the head of the school in cases of persisting impertinence or rude behaviour towards teachers, physical violence, intemperance and serious forms of misbehaviour with other students. It contains some exceptions like corporal punishment should not inflicted on the students who are in ill-health. It shall not be severe or excessive and shall be so administered so as not to cause bodily injury. It imposes a limit of ten strokes with cane on student's hand with a condition that such a punishment be recorded in the Conduct Register of such a student.

The government justified the rule as necessary for inculcating discipline. The Division Bench of Delhi High Court held that corporal punishment was not keeping with a child's dignity. Justice Anil Dev Singh and Justice Mukundakam Sharma, said that it was cruel to subject a child to physical violence in school in the name of discipline or education. It was held that inflicting physical punishment on a child is not in consonance with his or her right of life guaranteed by Article 21 of Indian Constitution. "Just because child is small he or she cannot be denied of these rights…. Even animals are protected against cruelty. Our children are surely cannot be worse off than animals" said the High Court. The Court also said that there had been instances where children have been traumatized and beaten in schools causing grave injuries to them on account of their innocent pranks, mistakes and mischief. Law and legal systems are expected to protect the children from abuse of authorities either at home or at schools or at systems of administration of justice duly considering their childhood, innocence and incapacity to understand. Children below seven years are exempted from criminal liability.

Their act is not treated as an offence at all. This means that there can be no corporal punishment even under penal provisions based on the principles of doli incapaxi. Similar exemption is extended to children of above seven years and under twelve of immature understanding under Section 83 of IPC. In essence, a child cannot be subjected to ordinary methods of physical punishments including imprisonment for the offences owing to their age and incapacity of formulating a malicious intention. Thus for being a student and having a committed a wrong of not doing home work or violating a dress code, should not invite any corporal punishment. Indian Penal Code Section 88 protects an act which is not intended to cause death, done by consent in good faith for person's benefit.

Master chastising pupil fall under this clause. A head teacher who administers in good faith a moderate and reasonable corporal punishment to a pupil to enforce discipline in school is protected by this section and such an act is not crime under Section 323. ection 89 of Indian Penal Code protects an act by guardian or by consent of guardian done in good faith for benefit of child under 12 years. However the same section says that this exception will not extend to cause death, or attempting to cause death, causing grievous hurt.

These provisions extend to teachers having quasi-parental authority i.e., consent or delegation of authority from parents also, of course, with exceptions. Using excessive force, causing serious injury, purpose being very unreasonable can turn the act of the guardian or teacher with the consent of guardian, an offence, because such incidents are outside the scope of good faith. The Child battery is one of the serious forms of domestic violence, over which the controls are not specified, in penal systems till Juvenile Justice legislation came in 1986, which is now replaced by Act of 2000. The principles of criminal liability are not totally absent as they could be inferred from different ambiguous provisions prior to these Acts also. This provision should be used to control the child battery at homes and schools.

Answered on 10 Aug 2019


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