Sometimes Parents and Teachers use some sort of physical violence to “Induce Discipline” in their Children or students. Every now and then we come across such shocking incidents of innocent children being subjected to corporal punishment in the garb of disciplining them. this type of method of “inducing discipline” has been banned by the government under several laws. Corporal Punishment means Punishment that is “Physical in nature”.

What is Corporal Punishment?

Corporal Punishment is when a type of punishment that involves physically hitting someone. The punishment intends to inflict physical pain on someone, commonly minors, so that they do not repeat the mistake which caused the punishment but it can also refer to punishments that affect an individual’s reputation (such as repressing freedom of speech). It can come in many forms, including spanking, hitting, kicking, shoving, grabbing, pulling, and slapping.

It is used for prisoners as well. The most common types of physical violence against a prisoner are caning and whipping. Violence against both a minor and a prisoner has been abolished in most countries.

Corporal Punishment in schools

three types of corporal punishments used in schools

  1. Physical – This type includes all types of physical violence or punishments like hitting the child with a belt, a shoe, or a stick, pinching and grabbing ears, or hair. It also includes a few things which might not seem obvious but it does come under physical corporal punishment like making the child stand on a bench or making him stand in an uncomfortable position while making him hold his ears. Teachers also cannot make him stay back during recess or the games period.
  2. Mental – Insulting him in front of his peers, scolding the child and calling him with insulting adjectives, saying that the child is suffering from a mental disease and insulting them for a poor score in their exams, and making fun of a child who is suffering from some sort of mental illness or stammer.
  3. Discriminatory corporal punishment – means treating the child differently because of their caste, creed, gender, or financial background

Effects of Corporal Punishment

Many people believe that it is an effective form of punishment for children who have been disobedient or misbehaved, while others feel that it is an inhumane act towards minors and should be banned in all parts of the world. The latter opinion is supported by numerous studies that have found that physically punishing children can negatively affect their behaviour as they grow older.

There have been several studies conducted in recent years showing that corporal punishment is not an effective way to discipline children and that it can even be counterproductive. These types of punishments are not only physically painful but also affect the child mentally. Recent studies have shown that the child that has been a victim of corporal punishment deals with stress, which leads to negative behaviour.

Legal Protection for Children in India

Indian law prohibits corporal punishment in schools and other institutions through the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act (2013). This law prohibits all forms of corporal punishment and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading forms of punishment in all institutions providing education or care to children, including government or government-aided schools, schools receiving financial assistance from the government, government-sponsored residential schools, non-governmental schools, madrasas, and children’s homes.

The law also applies to children being educated in home study groups. The law distinguishes moderate physical punishment and corporal punishment, with the latter being prohibited. However, the law does allow for moderate physical punishment. Moderate physical punishment is defined as “a mild but reasonable and fair application of physical force by way of correction, for the disciplined and healthy teaching-learning process and proper care and cultivation of children.”

The Rights of the Child under the Law

The rights of children as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are:

The right to protection

Children have a right to be protected from any harmful acts such as exploitation, discrimination, abuse, or sexual abuse. To completely realize children’s rights to protection, it is necessary to have a different attitude toward children and their needs. It’s important to have a good bond with the child so that instead of fearing their loved ones, they share things with them.

The right to health

The realization of children’s rights is strongly correlated with addressing access to health. According to the statistics, 39 children die per 1000 births under the age of 5 in India children and pregnant women have a hard time receiving the right health care and proper medical care facilities. There’s a lack of access to clean water and inadequate sanitary facilities due to which many children get infected with the deadly disease.

The right to education

Following Article 21A of the Indian Constitution, children in India between the ages of 6 and 14 have the right to free and compulsory education. This means that every child has a right to elementary education. In rural areas, mid-day meals are provided to attract children to come to school but attendance remains poor.

The right to life

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of persons”, and “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty…”. Children are no exception to this. Due to so many issues, children lose their lives every day, and human trafficking lack of medical health care not only this, in India many families used to kill girl fetuses by sex determination, so this has been banned in India as it violates the right to life.

Laws that the infliction of Corporal Punishment violates

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution says that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” Corporal punishment violated Article 21 as the dignity of the child is forsaken when a teacher ridicules or beats him in front of his peers. 

Further, it also violates Article 21-A of the Constitution which says that all children between the age of 6 and 14 shall receive free and compulsory education. If any child faces humiliation or violence at school, he might be encouraged to miss school regularly. Children can even drop out of school out of fear of punishment. 

Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Several sections of the IPC may be violated, depending on the severity of the damage caused to the child. Some sections which are violated are below-

  • Section 305 –  Indirectly encouraging a child to commit suicide
  • Section 325 – Causing severe harm to a  person voluntarily
  • Section 352 – A grave provocation, assault, or using criminal force
  • Section 506 – Criminal intimidation of a person
  • Section 354 – Assault or criminal intimidation on a woman which can outrage her modesty

The Right to Education Act, 2009

This Act includes a wide range of issues like compulsory and free education, the quality of education, the ratio between teachers and students, and corporal punishment. The Act prohibits every type of physical and mental abuse of children. It also prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of caste, creed, gender, religion, and financial background

The Juvenile Justice Act, 2000

This Act also deals with a wide range of issues. It sets guidelines on how to deal with or counsel a juvenile who conflicts with the law. Section 23 of the Act mentions the punishment for the cruel treatment of any juvenile by the person in charge of them. Section 26 provides the punishment for the employment of a juvenile in an environment that can be hazardous for them.

The Act also requires that there should be at least 1 child welfare officer in every police station and they should also have the aptitude and all the required training for the job. It also created Special Juvenile Police Units for the same purpose.

Authorities that keep Corporal Punishment in check

There are two main bodies that have been established in India for the sole purpose of cracking down on corporal punishment. The first is the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the second is the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Both of these bodies are tasked with making sure that the children are treated by the Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE). They also examine the rights provided under this Act and also make any recommendations that might be relevant to the Act. They can also launch inquiries into the complaints which claim the violation of the RTE Act





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