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Kerala High Court rules that Parents and teachers are entitled to use reasonable force to discipline children

Team SoOLEGAL 3 Jan 2019 11:13am

Kerala High Court  rules that Parents and teachers are entitled to use reasonable force to discipline children

A school teacher was given relief by The High Court of Kerala by quashing a criminal case initiated against him for punishing a student.
The teacher was alleged to have poked a Class II student with a fist for doing minor mistakes in a mathematics lesson. The student divulged about the incident to her parents and they registered a FIR against the teacher under Section 323 Indian Penal Code (causing simple hurt) and Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act (causing unnecessary physical and mental suffering to child).

 The police filed final report and cognizance of the case was taken by a Judicial Magistrate.

The teacher approached to the High Court under Section 482 of the CrPC to quash the criminal case initiated against him. The teacher’s counsel told the court that the minor punishment was given by him in good faith for the benefit of the student. The counsel gave references of cases like  Abdul Vaheed v. State of Kerala [2005 (2) KLT 72], M. Natesan v. State of Madras & Anr [AIR 1962 Mad. 216] and also a decision of the Calcutta High Court in Ganesh Chandra Saha v. Jiw Raj Somani [AIR 1985 Cal. 32] to hammer home his contention that the position of a teacher viz-a-viz a student is peculiar in nature and only when he inflicts such harm, which is unreasonable and immoderate, that he would be liable to be proceeded against in a Criminal Court

Public Prosecutor submitted that no teacher is expected to inflict corporal punishment on a minor child.

The Court observed that the student had not suffered any major injuries nor marks of injury or violence were left on the body of the child. The teacher had not used a cane or any other instrument of offence. There was no case that punishment by the petitioner was beyond the student’s powers.

None of the witnesses stated that she cried or that she was in such a discomfort that she had to be taken home.

Giving the relief to the teacher under Section 79 and 80 of the Code, The High Court stated that “Parents, teachers and other persons in loco parentis are entitled as a disciplinary measure to apply a reasonable degree of force to their children or pupil old enough to understand the purpose to which the act was done”


“When a child is sent to school, it must be deemed that the parent or the guardian has given implied authority to the teacher to discipline the child and to use reasonable punishment to control the child” The HC held while referring to the precedents.

The HC however added that "if the punishment imposed is given out of spite or for some other non-disciplinary reason or if the force is unreasonable or immoderate, it is unlawful".

                                                                          




Tagged: kerala high court   parents teachers   entitled use   reasonable force   discipline children  
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