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MUZAFFARNAGAR SLAPPING CASE: SC reprimands UP Govt, Police for ‘merely pretending to investigate’

– Shakilur Rahman

The Supreme Court has taken seriously the incident of a child slapped by his classmates at the behest of the teacher in a private school in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. A bench of Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal reprimanded the Uttar Pradesh Police and the state government for merely pretending to investigate the case. The bench said that the state government should have taken responsibility for the incident.

‘An order was given to slap a child on the basis of his religion. What kind of education is being given?’ The bench said that it is very wrong this was happened in the name of religion.

On August 25, Tripta Tyagi, a teacher at Neha Public School in Khubbapur village, had ordered the classmates from another community to slap a child belonging to the Muslim community. After the video of the incident went viral, a public interest litigation (PIL) was lodged by Tushar Gandhi in the Supreme Court. While hearing the case, the bench directed the state government to appoint a senior IPS officer within a week to monitor the investigation. The bench said that the IPS officer will also see which sections need to be invoked in this case.

The bench has also directed to present the investigation report in the court. Besides, orders have also been given to provide security to the witnesses. The state government should make arrangements for the education of the slapped child in another school. Keeping in mind the impact of the incident on the child, psychological counselling should be done for him and the children who have slapped.

During the hearing, the state government opposed the filing of the petition by petitioner Tushar Gandhi, who is known as the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. The state government also said that communal issues have been exaggerated. But the bench did not pay attention to these arguments. However, the state government’s lawyer was told that under the Right to Education Act, it is the responsibility of the state government to provide free education to all children. Still the children are studying in unrecognized schools.

The judges expressed surprise that an FIR in this case was lodged quite late. The judges said that the provisions of the Right to Education Act (RTE) clearly state that no child should face discrimination on the basis of caste, religion or gender. There should be no physical violence against any child. But in this case both the provisions were violated. The next hearing of this case is scheduled on October 30.


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