Shanno case: HC notice to govt
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The Delhi High Court on Monday sought an explanation from the government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) as to why teachers still resort to corporal punishment in city schools despite a judicial ban in 2001.
Justice G S Sistani passed the order on a petition moved by Ayub Khan, father of 11-year-old Shanno, who died two days after a teacher in her municipal school allegedly made her squat in the open on April 15. Shanno died two days later at Lok Nayak Hospital.
Besides the Delhi government and MCD, the court also issued notices to the Union Ministries of Child and Welfare Development and Human Resources Development, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the teacher who allegedly meted out corporal punishment (Manju Rathee), and principal of the municipal school in Bawana.
The court has sought their responses by May 14, the next date of hearing.
Khan, represented by his lawyer Rohit Kocchar, stated in his petition that teachers in the school "mock" the children "day in and day out". According to the petition, the teachers "never miss an opportunity to make the children feel downtrodden".
Kocchar submitted in court, "The teachers even wear handkerchiefs on their noses, asserting that they cannot bear the stench from the children who come from slum colonies."
The petition stated that the quality of education in the Capital's municipal schools is "pathetic".
In the petition, Khan recounts that he saw his daughter leave home that (April 15) morning a "vivacious girl, full of life"; he alleged that Manju Rathee, Shanno's teacher, made her squat outside her classroom and even kicked her when the child asked for water.
Khan's petition said such "torture" was common in government schools despite a public notification issued on December 17, 2007, banning all forms of corporal punishments in schools. The petition also placed on record a circular from the NCPCR in August 2007 to all chief secretaries that should be "no gradations while judging corporal punishment" and the practice should be "nipped in the bud".
It also produced in court a 2001judgment of the Delhi High Court, holding that corporal punishment violated the right to life and equality under the Constitution.
Khan has also sought an investigation into the matter by the MCD Vigilance Committee and requested that the probe into Rathee's conduct be transferred to the CBI.
He has asked for judicial intervention to direct the police to charge Rathee under Section 304 (culpabale homicide not amounting to murder) instead of Section 304 A (negligence). The petition said the school principal should be booked under Section 304 A (negligence).
Khan has also soughtexemplary compensation through the petition.
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