The Kerala High Court has observed that a child from the beginning of school should be taught to respect the other gender. The Court further added that boys must be taught to be selfless and gentle, rather than selfish and entitled.

“A child should be taught at the family, and from the beginning of school, that he/she must respect the other gender. They should be taught that real men dont bully woman – it is unmanly; and not an expression of macho virtue, but its antithesis. It is, in fact, the weak men who dominate and harass woman…”, the bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran observed.

The Court made this observation while noting increasing instances of sexual harassment against students, even in schools and colleges.

The Court noted that the educational system seldom focuses on Character building, but focuses solely on academic results and employability.

The Court emphasized that lessons in good behaviour and etiquette must be part of the curriculum, and from at least the Primary Class level teachers must be encouraged to instill virtues and values in students.

“Sexism is not acceptable or “cool”. One exhibits strength when he respects a girl/woman. Respectfullness is an imperative that needs to be inculcated very young. How one treats a woman gives an insight to his upbringing and personality.”, the Court said.

The Court directed the Registry to serve a copy of this judgment on the Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala; the Secretary, General Education Department and Secretary, Higher Education Department; as also the Education Boards like CBSE, ICSE.

The Court made these observations while dealing with a plea challenging the report of the Internal Complaints Committee and the order of the Principal.

It is imputed that the petitioner misbehaved and even groped certain girl students within the campus of the – respondent - College; and that an enquiry was initiated against him following which he was found guilty.

Advocate Ajai John appeared for the petitioner whereas Senior Advocate George Poonthottam appeared for the College. Standing Counsel Elvin Peter appeared for University and Counsel S. Krishnamoorthy appeared for UGC.

Senior Advocate for College conceded that Order has been issued without hearing the petitioner, but argued that it is not necessary.

The Court observed thus “I am of the sure opinion that it is imperative for this Court to direct the 1st respondent College - to constitute the statutory “Collegiate Student Redressal Committee”, so that it can then hear the petitioner, as also the affected persons, if any, before taking a final decision.”

At that time Ajai John - counsel for the petitioner, intervened to say that his client’s life would be irreparably prejudiced, if he is not allowed to take part in the Internal Assessment and to submit his thesis.

However, the Court left it open for the Principal to decide whether he can be allowed to submit his thesis.

Cause Title- Aaron S John v. TKM College of Engineering, Kollam & Ors.

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