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Muzaffarnagar child slap case: SC pulls up UP govt, says can’t be quality education if student penalised on religion

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government over the manner of dealing with the incident where a Muslim child was slapped by classmates on instructions of a teacher in Muzaffarnagar, and said that “there can not be any quality of education if the student is penalised based on religion”.
A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal noting that there was a delay in the registration of the FIR and the FIR has omitted the allegations made by the victim's father regarding communal targeting, it ordered that the probe should be supervised by senior IPS officer, nominee by the State.
It asked the senior officer to submit a report before the top court.
The apex court also observed that there is a "prima facie failure on the part of the State” to comply with the mandate of the Right to Education Act, which prohibits physical and mental harassment of students and their discrimination on the basis of religion and caste.
It observed, “There cannot be any quality education if a student is sought to be penalised only on the ground that he belongs to a particular community. There is a prima facie failure on the part of the State to comply with mandatory obligations of the RTE Act and rules.”
The bench said quality education includes sensitive education and the manner in which the incident has happened should shake the conscience of the State.
“This is a very serious issue. Teachers tell students to hit a classmate because they belong to a particular community. Is this quality education? If the allegations are true, this should shock the conscience of the State,” the bench said
Justice Oka added, “If the allegation is correct, this may be the worst kind of physical punishment imparted by a teacher, inasmuch as the teacher directed another student to assault the victim.”
The apex court also directed the State government to apprise it about what facilities it will extend to the victim of the offence under the RTE Act for his quality education as per the Act. It said the State cannot expect the child to continue in the same school.
It further directed the State to ensure proper counselling is provided to the victim by a professional counsellor and also to the students who were dictated to take part in the action.
The apex court also impleaded the Secretary of State Education Department in the case and directed the filing of a compliance report regarding the counselling and better educational facilities given to the victim.
It also directed the State to place on record the detailed guidelines laid down by NCPCR about imposing physical punishment for students.
The state will place a compliance report in relation to providing better facilities as well as counselling to the victim, it added.
The bench now posted the matter for hearing on October 30.
The direction of the top court came while hearing a PIL filed by Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, seeking speedy investigation in the student slapping case.
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 an outrage on social media.
The teacher, Tripta Tyagi, was booked after a video showed her asking her students to slap the 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 prescription of preventive and remedial measures within the school systems in relation to violence against children, including those belonging to religious minorities.

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