Calling a child names on the basis of skin colour, body structure, gender, religion and caste by teachers could very soon invite disciplinary action, and in extreme cases, sacking.
At present, there is no statutory definition of corporal punishment
The Right to Education Act, 2009 merely says, "No child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment".
The tough new guidelines began to be formulated after 13-year-old Kolkata student Rouvanjit Rawla committed suicide after being caned in school in February 2010. "The guidelines look at the psychological aspects of corporal punishment on children. For the first time, we are elaborating on what actually comprises a discriminatory act. We will submit the guidelines to the HRD ministry shortly," said Shanta Sinha, chairperson, NCPCR.
The move has evoked mixed reactions. "Such strict regulations are uncalled for and will bring fissures in the teacher-student relationship," said VK William, principal of Mount Carmel School, Anand Niketan.
But RK Sharma, principal of Ahlcon Public School, Mayur Vihar-I welcomed the step.
"Initially, teachers will find the recommendations very harsh. But they have to realise that children today are much more sensitive. To deal with them, teachers will have to change their attitude and treat a child with dignity."