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Teacher administering moderate and reasonable force to enforce discipline cannot be exposed to criminal prosecution: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court ruled that a teacher who uses reasonable and moderate force to enforce classroom discipline is not subject to criminal prosecution through Justice Kauser Edappagath in the case of Jaya v. State of Kerala (CRL.MC NO. 1303 OF 2020)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The accused/Revision petitioner was a pupil in the same class as the petitioner, who was the Standard VI class, teacher. His father answered as the fourth respondent.

It was claimed that the revision petitioner attempted to beat the third respondent with a cane with the intent to inflict harm because he was angry with him for taking too long to retrieve a textbook. However, when the third respondent suddenly turned his face up, the cane’s butt accidentally touched the cornea of his right eye, and the revision petitioner was found to have violated Sections 324 of the Penal Code, 1860, and 23 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

The lower court determined that there was probable cause to believe that the revision petitioner committed the offence and charged her under Section 324 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Section 23 of the JJ Act. Thus, the sole accused had filed a criminal revision petition on the file of the Lower Court under Sections 397 read with 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, challenging the charge established against her.

JUDGEMENT:

According to the High Court, when a discharge application is being considered, the Court must determine whether there are enough grounds to press charges against the accused.

Section 17 of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, states that no kid shall be exposed to physical or verbal abuse. According to the Court, a teacher who, without malice, uses moderate and reasonable force on a student to enforce discipline in the classroom/school is not subject to criminal prosecution or penal culpability.

The teacher’s cane was employed in the ordinary course to regulate a boisterous class and maintain order. As a result, it cannot be called a dangerous weapon. Hurt caused by dangerous weapons must be caused freely in order to attract Section 234 of the OPC. According to the court record, the teacher had no intention of causing harm to the third respondent.

In the case of ‘assault’ under Section 351 IPC, it was nothing more than a threat of violence accompanied by a purpose to use illegal force and the ability and desire to carry out the threat. The prosecution records did not show that the revision petitioner said or did anything to threaten the third respondent.

According to the High Court, the revision petitioner’s actions could not be characterized as having been done with the goal to harm the third respondent. The evidence showed that she used her power fairly and in good faith, and even if the prosecution’s accusations were shown to be accurate in their entirety, they would not constitute an offence under Section 324 of the IPC or Section 23 of the JJ Act.

Therefore, the revision petitioner was discharged, and the criminal revision petition was allowed.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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