Teacher Scolding A Student Or Inflicting Reasonable Punishment Does Not Constitute Offence: Bombay HC
The Bombay High Court has observed that only because teacher scolded a student or even inflicted some reasonable punishment, would not in any manner constitute offence.
“Only because teacher scolded a student or even inflicted some reasonable punishment, would not in any manner constitute offence as it has to be kept in mind that such measures were taken by the teacher only and only for the purpose of maintaining the discipline of the school and to correct a child who is misbehaving or committing mischief which is detrimental to the discipline of the school and affecting other students.”, the bench of Justice Baharat P Deshpande noted while relying upon the Judgement in Emperor vs. G.B. Ghatge.
The Court was dealing with a plea by a teacher challenging the Judgment whereby she was convicted for hitting two minor children with a stick.
Advocate Arun de Sa appeared for the appellant-teacher whereas Pravin Faldessai, Additional Public Prosecutor appeared for the State.
The Court observed that Scolding a school student for committing mistakes and even some punishment given to maintain discipline would not constitute offence.
“It seems that PW2 consumed water from the bottle of another student which is certainly against the discipline of the school and bound to receive complaints from the parents of other students. In such circumstances, the Accused being a teacher is bound to act accordingly. In order to maintain discipline in her own class, sometimes, she has to use reasonable force if the students are not able to understand the instructions and are repeatedly committing such mistakes.”, the Court noted.
The Court also remarked that teachers are respected in society and are the backbone of our education system.
The Court added that if the teachers are under fear of such allegations for trivial matters and more specifically while correcting children, it would be difficult for conducting schools thereby giving proper education and more specifically maintaining discipline.
“The teachers are respected in the society at the most. They are the backbone of our education system. If the teachers are under fear of such allegations for trivial matters and more specifically while correcting children, it would be difficult for conducting schools thereby giving proper education and more specifically maintaining discipline. A civilized society needs civilized young generation which would respect each other and would be considered as a future generation of the nation.”, the Court noted.
The Court also observed that the purpose of Goa Children's Act is mainly to protect the child from any abuse including physical, psychological or otherwise, but also gives the specific procedure with regard to the institutions including schools wherein the child remains in custody of such staff or the employees of the schools, etc.
The Court added that the police should conduct a preliminary inquiry or direct the complainant to approach competent authority i.e. Directorate of Women's and Child Development whenever there are allegations regarding corporal punishment.
The Court observed that this will restrict the matters which are directly filed before the Children's Court specifically with regard to such allegations of physical abuse by the teacher only with an intent to correct a child and to discipline.
The Court held that the matter in hand shows that there is no conclusive evidence to prove that the accused used any stick or ruler to assault the Children and secondly, depositions of both Children are contrary to each other on material aspects.
Thus the Court quashed the Conviction imposed on the teacher.
Cause Title- Rekha @ Vidhila Faldessai v. State