The Supreme Court, on Friday, emphasized that the repercussions following the distressing incident of a Muslim schoolboy being slapped by his classmates at the behest of their teacher in Uttar Pradesh were a consequence of the State's failure to act appropriately post the offense, according to a report by PTI.
Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan stated that the state should have shown concern about the manner in which the incident unfolded. The bench, presiding over a plea by Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson, seeking a prompt investigation, directed advocate Shadan Farasat to provide suggestions to the state government for implementing the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) recommendations regarding the counseling of the victim child and his classmates.
TISS report affidavit deemed "inadequate"
During the brief hearing, senior advocate Garima Prashad, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, informed the court that the state's education department had submitted an affidavit regarding the implementation of the TISS report. Farasat, however, deemed the affidavit "inadequate" and expressed the need to file a detailed reply, particularly on the implementation of TISS recommendations.
The bench instructed Farasat to submit in writing his suggestions to the state government after consulting the victim's father to ensure the recommendations' effective implementation. Prashad raised concerns about the victim child having to travel 28 km to his new school, pointing out a potential violation of the RTE Act's mandate, which prescribes a 1 km radius for students in classes 1 to 5 and a 3 km radius for those in classes 6 to 8.
Advocate highlights absence of good schools in the vicinity
In response, Farasat highlighted the absence of good schools in the vicinity and justified the child's admission to a distant private school due to the lack of suitable options nearby. The child's admission to a private school, farther from his residence, had been facilitated by the state government following the incident.
The court, on November 6, 2023, had directed the state government to facilitate the boy's admission to a private school and expressed dissatisfaction on November 10, 2023, with the state's non-compliance regarding counseling for the victim child.
The Muzaffarnagar Police had registered a case against the teacher for alleged communal remarks and instructing classmates to slap the Muslim boy. The school also received a notice from the state's education department. The court will first focus on implementing TISS recommendations before addressing RTE Act aspects in the further hearing scheduled for February 9.
With input from agencies