In a move aimed at protecting children in educational institutions, the government has for the first time proposed to define corporal punishment and ragging, and make them criminal offences under law.
The women and child development (WCD) ministry has included these offences in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 that is being repealed and re-enacted.
For corporal punishment, a six months jail term has been proposed for causing hurt and emotional distress to a child and subsequent offence would invite a jail term of three years and dismissal from service. For causing grievous hurt or severe mental trauma, a jail term of three years and a fine of Rs 50,000 have been proposed.
According to a 2009-10 survey conducted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights among 6,700 students, around 99% said they have been meted out punishment of varying degree.
To check ragging, the ministry has proposed up to three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000. Ragging by an institution's staff would put them at the risk of dismissal and a bar on working with children in the future.
Mandatory anti-ragging affidavits done away with
"We will soon go to the cabinet to get the bill cleared and will introduce it in the Parliament during the forthcoming budget session," said a WCD ministry official.