The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Caning bar in place, not violators’ penalty

Calcutta, Aug. 16: The government today submitted in the high court a copy of the circular prohibiting caning and any form of corporal punishment in schools.

Teachers resorting to such punishment, the circular says, “will be dealt with strictly.”

The directorate of school education, which furnished the notification, said it was issued on June 29.

Addressed to the heads of all primary and secondary schools, the circular from director of school education A.K. Biswas says: “Caning or other types of corporal punishment to students is strictly prohibited…”

The notification, drawn up following a high court order, becomes binding for all schools across the state, government and private.

Education department sources said details on the punishment for guilty teachers are being worked out. “But they (the punishment) would range from warning to suspension, according to the gravity of the situation,” an official said.

“It has been unanimously accepted in modern pedagogy that corporal punishment to students is not only useless but harmful for the mental growth of the students, apart from the fact that it may cause physical injury... Instead, a joyful atmosphere has been suggested as an effective means for teaching and learning in schools,” the notification says.

Earlier, Tapas Bhanja, a high court lawyer, had moved a public interest litigation alleging that schoolteachers were still using canes. Showing news reports, he told the court that a student of a South 24-Parganas school fell ill after being caned by a teacher. A student in Birbhum had to be hospitalised after being hit by a teacher.

Bhanja said that at least 16 students across the state were seriously injured from caning in school in the past one-and-a-half-years.

He demanded high court intervention and sought an order asking the government to take steps to prevent corporal punishment.

Hearing the PIL, a division bench comprising then Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice A.K. Banerjee had observed that primitive methods should be abolished and teachers should not resort to any corporal punishment in school.

The judges had passed an order on February 6 directing the school education department to take all possible steps to end corporal punishment and asked the department to submit a compliance report.

Bhanja today said the education department is saying that it has sent copies of the notification to school heads “but many teachers are still using canes”.

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