Parents, guardians and schools teachers may very soon face a maximum of five years in jail for beating a child, or verbally abusing him or inflicting any other form of corporal punishment. Similarly, ragging a fresher or junior in college may also fetch a maximum of three years in prison, if the government has its way in replacing the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 with a new law that has various new provisions for specific Acts.
The draft Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 seeks to introduce an array of special provisions in laws, aiming at children’s rights and incorporating various international obligations and covenants into the legal framework.
The new proposed law, about which Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi informed the Lok Sabha Draft Bill proposes jail for beating, abusing child
on Friday, has already been circulated for inter-ministerial consultation. It makes corporal punishment an offence under a new provision in the Act. After the Cabinet’s approval, the Bill is likely to be introduced in Parliament.
The term “corporal punishment” shall include physical punishment as well as verbal abuses by any person and if a juvenile court holds such a person or institution guilty, it may hand out a jail term extending up to six months along with fine for the first offence and a maximum of three years on second and subsequent conviction.
“In case the corporal punishment has caused grievous hurt or severe mental trauma to the child, the person having committed the offence shall be liable, for rigorous imprisonment of three years and fine of rupees fifty thousand, and for subsequent conviction, imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine of rupees one lakh or both,” the draft states.
If passed by both Houses of Parliament, the new law will include India among the list of around 40 countries across the world which have absolutely prohibited corporal punishments and have made it a penal offence.
Another provision in the proposed law seeks to make ragging a penal offence, punishable up to three years in jail if the acts of ragging have not only generated a sense of embarrassment for the victim but also caused grievous physical or mental injuries. Expulsion of the perpetrator has been made mandatory.
Not only the students but also the managements of colleges and institutions have been made completely accountable under the proposed