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Guidelines to Eliminate Corporal Punishment


The Tamil Nadu School Education Department has issued guidelines aimed at eradicating corporal punishment in schools. Known as the GCEP (Guidelines for Child-Friendly Education Practices), these directives prioritize the protection of students’ physical and mental well-being. Beyond banning corporal punishment, the guidelines also address various forms of harassment faced by students.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Guidelines Overview
  2. Understanding Corporal Punishment
  3. Constitutional and Legal Framework Regarding Corporal Punishment:
  4. About NCPCR

Guidelines Overview:

  • Promoting Safe Environments: The guidelines aim to establish safe and nurturing environments for students by addressing issues like physical punishment, mental harassment, and discrimination.
  • GECP Initiatives: The GECP includes measures to safeguard students’ mental well-being, raise awareness through camps, and align with NCPCR guidelines.
  • Establishment of Monitoring Committees: Emphasis is placed on setting up monitoring committees at schools, comprising various stakeholders, to oversee guideline implementation and address any arising issues.
  • Affirmative Actions: The department also outlines affirmative actions against corporal punishment, including multidisciplinary interventions, life-skills education, and platforms for children’s voices.

Understanding Corporal Punishment:

  • Definition and Scope: Corporal punishment, as defined by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, involves the use of physical force to cause pain or discomfort, primarily through actions like hitting or spanking.
  • Prevalence and Impact: Globally, around 60% of children aged 2–14 years face physical punishment, leading to adverse effects such as anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem, and aggression.
  • Types and Consequences: Corporal punishment encompasses physical actions like coercive positioning and forced ingestion, as well as mental mistreatment through ridicule and humiliation, resulting in emotional distress and physical injuries.
Effects of Corporal Punishment:
  • Psychological Impact: Corporal punishment can instill feelings of fear and insecurity in children, leading to psychological issues like anxiety and depression, ultimately affecting academic performance.
  • Social and Behavioral Ramifications: Children subjected to corporal punishment may develop lower self-esteem, aggression, and difficulties in forming healthy relationships, increasing the likelihood of substance abuse in adulthood.
  • Physical Consequences: Physical injuries ranging from minor bruises to serious harm can result from corporal punishment, posing risks to children’s physical well-being and long-term health.

Constitutional and Legal Framework Regarding Corporal Punishment:

Statutory Provisions:

  • Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009:
    • Section 17 prohibits corporal punishment and mental harassment, prescribing disciplinary action against offenders as per applicable service rules.
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015:
    • Section 23 stipulates penalties for individuals causing mental or physical pain to juveniles under their control, including imprisonment or fines.

Legal Provisions:

  • Indian Penal Code,1860:
    • Sections 305, 323, and 325 address abetment of suicide by a child, voluntarily causing hurt, and voluntarily causing grievous hurt, respectively.

Judicial Precedents:

  • In the case of Ambika S. Nagal Vs State of Himachal Pradesh (2020), the High Court held that parents impliedly consent to punishment and discipline when sending their children to school.
  • The Kerala High Court, in the case of Rajan Vs Sub-Inspector of Police (2014), upheld corporal punishment as beneficial to children, granting teachers discretion in its application.

Constitutional Provisions for Child Protection:

  • Articles 21 A, 24, 39(e), 45, and 51A(k) of the Constitution outline provisions for compulsory education, prohibition of child labor, protection from economic abuse, care for children under six years, and parental duty to ensure education, respectively.

Statutory Bodies:

  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) mandates schools to establish mechanisms, including a Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cell, to address student grievances.

International Laws:

  • Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) prohibits violence-based discipline, ensuring children’s protection from physical and mental harm.


  • It is an Indian statutory body that was established in 2007 under an Act of Parliament – the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 – and works under the auspices of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).
  • Its mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programmes, and administrative systems conform to the vision of children’s rights (ages 0 to 18 years) as enunciated in the Indian Constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • The Commission envisions a rights-based approach that pervades national-state-local policies and programmes.
  • As a result, the Commission envisions the state playing an indispensable role in ensuring o Children and their well-being, o Strong institution-building processes, o Respect for local bodies and decentralisation at the community level, and greater social concern in this direction.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024