Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

India’s Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD), Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, has urged schools to strictly observe Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishment, issued by the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) of WCD Ministry.

The WCD Ministry has asked the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) for wide spread circulation and implementation of the guidelines in schools.

According to a government statement issued Wednesday, this was done in the light of the recent disturbing incident of girl students who were meted out tormenting corporal punishment in the school for not completing their homework.

The statement said the incident was widely reported in the media, thereby bringing to public attention the issue of corporal punishment used in schools.

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The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) under the authority of Ministry of Women & Child Development has developed and issued Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishment in schools.

In her letter to the HRD Minister, Prakash Javadekar, Maneka Gandhi has expressed concern at the disturbing incident of corporal punishment in UP. “Corporal punishment has been banned under Section-17 of the RTE Act,” Maneka Gandhi said.

She has urged the HRD Minister that the government as well as private schools may be suitably directed to ensure that these guidelines are strictly observed.

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The Guidelines state constitution of Special Monitoring Cells to take prompt action in cases of physical punishment or harassment of children. They also suggest that Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cells (CPMCs) should hear grievances related to corporal punishment within 48 hours of the occurrence.

The guidelines suggest that school teachers should provide a written undertaking that they would not engage in any action that could be construed as amounting to physical punishment, mental harassment or discrimination.

It is also suggested that schools should have annual social audits of physical punishment, harassment and discrimination.

Photo courtesy: Ministry of Women and Child Development

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