‘State’s Failure’: SC Pulls Up UP Govt Over Muzaffarnagar Child-Slapping Incident

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has pulled up the UP government for a “prima facie failure” to comply with the Right To Education (RTE) Act mandate in the child-slapping incident at a Muzaffarnagar school last month.

Hearing the case lodged against a female teacher of a private school, who allegedly encouraged her students to slap a classmate and made communal remarks, the apex court on Monday directed the state government to immediately appoint a senior police officer to monitor the investigation.

The incident came to light after a video surfaced online, leading to outrage on social media. An FIR was then lodged against the teacher in Muzaffarnagar on August 25.

A bench of justices AS Oka and Pankaj Mithal said if the allegations are correct, it must “shock the conscience of the state government,” and that there was a “direct violation” of the child’s fundamental right to get compulsory and quality education under the RTE Act.

“Unless there is an effort made to inculcate importance of constitutional values in students, there cannot be quality education. There cannot be quality education if a student is penalised only on the grounds of his or her religion. Thus, there is a prima facie failure by the state government to comply with the mandates of the RTE Act and the rules framed thereunder,” the court said.

The two-judge bench directed that the victim and other children who were reportedly asked by the teacher to assault the former be counselled, and also sought a report from UP government on the implementation of RTE Act in relation to the case.

“The State will place on record a compliance report on the implementation of RTE Act and the rules in relation to the victim of the offence in question. The state will provide better education to the victim child and counselling to all children involved in the incident through expert child psychologists,” the court ordered.

The matter will next be heard on October 30.

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