Teachers must not enforce discipline in a wooden manner: Karnataka High Court

The petition was filed by Roopesha, the drawing teacher and Sadananda, Physical Education Teacher, working at SDM high school, Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada.
Last Updated : 05 July 2024, 15:40 IST

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Bengaluru: The pedagogues cannot blissfully ignore taking note of human psychology, particularly of that of a child or an adolescent, during their pedagogy and try to enforce strict discipline in a wooden manner, or a lifeless manner, the Karnataka High Court observed on Friday while refusing to quash the proceedings against two teachers over the death of a girl student by suicide. One of the teachers had allegedly threatened the victim of circulating a video of her kissing a boy.

“..if there should be cordial relationship between the teacher and the taught, myopic or parochial mindset of the teachers must undergo a paradigm shift, as lives of children, too precious they are, should not be so casually lost like this, for the unpardonable acts of pedagogues wanting to discipline the child,” Justice M Nagaprasanna said.

The petition was filed by Roopesha, the drawing teacher and Sadananda, Physical Education Teacher, working at SDM high school, Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada. The teachers challenged the FIR registered by the Dharmasthala police against them in the case of the death of a girl student by suicide.

The police had initially booked the teachers for offences under IPC sections 506, 354D, 509, section 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. After the death of the student, the police added IPC section 305 for abetment to suicide.

It was alleged in the complaint that the teachers had chided the victim for talking to a boy in the school. The girl was insulted and this was informed to a fellow student. The mother of the victim had asked the teachers not to inform other students and paint her child black. On February 7, 2024, the victim being frustrated with these things, consumed rat poison in the school premises and was shifted to Mangaluru for better treatment. The victim succumbed to poison that she had consumed on February 8.

The teachers argued that mere disciplining the child and the child consuming poison eventually leading to unfortunate death would not mean that the teachers would become abettors to the said suicide.

The court observed that in her dying declaration, recorded on February 8, the student stated that Sadananda had threatened her that he had a video of her kissing another boy and that he would circulate it.

“In the case at hand, the pseudo indiscipline projected by these petitioners is that the victim was talking to another boy. It is highly complicated as to what indiscipline that would be, if the girl talks with another boy. It can by no means be a taboo or indiscipline in any institution,” Justice Nagaprasanna said.

The court further said,” A child of 14 years is undoubtedly in the thick of adolescent behaviour. Therefore, it is here that they are needed to be dealt with compassion and not in this manner. It must be remembered that times have changed, and change we must, according to the changing times. Hope this becomes an eye-opener towards such a paradigm shift.”

Published 05 July 2024, 15:40 IST

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