Teachers, the tables have turned. In Kerala's Idukki district, you could be taken to task for making an insulting remark against a child, or even cracking a joke.
Idukki has been declared the first child-friendly district in the country, having banned corporal punishment in all educational institutions.
All schools will have to constitute an internal body to listen to the grievances of children. And students can complain against teachers who violate the rule.
If the internal body finds an allegation to be true, it can approach the district child welfare council, which can take the accused to the court.
All new school buildings will have to be designed to create a homely atmosphere. The idea is that the young 'uns should feel comfortable.
Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Shanta Sinha showcased the district at a function in Thodupuzha on Saturday. Sinha said the district would set up a committee to monitor violence against children at homes, educational institutions and society at large. "We have to ensure a fear-free atmosphere for our children," she said.
The commission is a statutory body notified under an Act of Parliament. It has the power to inquire into complaints and take suo motu notice of matters regarding deprivation of child's rights.
Apart from having the power to forward a case to a magistrate, the commission is also authorised to issue summons to witnesses. It can also approach the Supreme Court or the high court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that court may deem necessary or make recommendations to the concerned authority for granting interim relief to the victim's family.