Tests to measure sexual development were conducted on students in Sardar Patel Vidalaya without informing the school, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has found. It recommended strict action against the doctors involved and a public apology from the school.
The school had initially denied that Sex Maturity Ratings (SMR) was conducted. But before the committee set up by the child-rights body, principal Vidya Subramaniam said Dr KN Aggarwal, whose team was conducting the tests, had informed them only about "simple medical examination" and detection of growth failure.
"Going by what he told us we did not think it warranted parental consent," she told the committee. Had the school been told clearly about the tests, a prior notice would have been given to parents, she said.
The committee also observed the school was given a wrong impression about the aim of the project and held Dr Aggawal guilty of deliberately misleading the school and not informing it about the "clinical study". The sponsors, under the false pretext, obtained confidential information, including information on sexual maturity, the committee said in a report submitted to the commission’s chairperson Shantha Sinha on Wednesday. The committee has recommended action by the Medical Council of India against Dr Aggarwal and others.
It also said the data collected should not be used for any commercial purpose without the written consent of the guardians. Sandhaya Bajaj, member of the committee, said they have asked the HRD Ministry and the Health Ministry to frame guidelines for medical check-ups in schools. The guidelines should include mandatory general check-up for all students after the parents’ consent and genital check-up should be done in the presence of parents. Students had told the committee that they were stripped and their private parts checked.