Child slapping case: Supreme Court directs U.P. Govt. to sanction prosecution of teacher [30.10.2023]

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to immediately decide on granting sanction to prosecute the school teacher, who was accused of asking students to slap a Muslim classmate in Muzaffarnagar.

The Uttar Pradesh government told the apex court that the school teacher would face charges under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

The apex court was informed that sanction for proceedings in the case under Section 295A of the IPC was awaited from the state government.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal ordered the state to immediately take a decision on sanction to prosecute the teacher.

The top court, after perusing the affidavit filed by the Inspector General of Police of Meerut Range, said in its order, "It is stated that the investigation has been completed and government sanction for prosecution under Section 295A is awaited. We direct the government to immediately take a decision on the request for the grant of sanction. When it comes to the future of the victim child and his welfare, the state cannot treat this litigation as adversarial."

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, seeking speedy investigation in the case.

The bench took note of the affidavit filed by the victim's father that the child is "severely traumatised.

It observed, "We are putting the state to notice that we may consider appointing an expert agency for the purposes of counselling not only the victim but the other children who were involved in the alleged incident."

The apex court asked Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government's home department, to take instructions on the availability of an expert agency like NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which can go to the victim's village and counsel him and other school children.

The top court posted the matter for further hearing on November 6.

It also directed the state to place on record the detailed guidelines laid down by the NCPCR about imposing physical punishment on students.

A case was registered against a teacher in Muzaffarnagar who allegedly encouraged her students to slap a classmate. The purported video of the incident created outrage on social media.

The teacher, Tripta Tyagi, was booked after a video showed her asking her students to slap a Class 2 boy in Khubbapur village and also making a communal remark.

The teacher was accused of making communal comments and ordering her students to slap a Muslim classmate for not doing his homework. The state education department had also served notice to the private school.

The FIR was registered against the school teacher under Section 323 (punishment for causing voluntary hurt) and Section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).

The petition sought direction for a time-bound and independent investigation by the police and the prescription of preventive and remedial measures within the school systems in relation to violence against children, including those belonging to religious minorities.

31 Oct 2023