The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to facilitate the admission of a student, who was slapped by his classmates allegedly at the behest of a teacher for failing to complete his homework in Muzaffarnagar district, to a private school there.
The state’s education department told a bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal it was constituting a committee to consider the admission of the victim child to a private CBSE-affiliated school. The counsel appearing for the department said it has under its jurisdiction only schools affiliated to UP board.
Justice Oka said, “Why do you have to appoint a committee for the admission of a child? What will the committee do? Just ask your senior officer and they will talk to the principal of the school which will consider the admission. Don’t take such a stand before the court. I don’t think any school will say no, given the facts of the case. By Friday, let us know about the compliance.”
Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for petitioner Tushar Gandhi, said the father of the boy wanted him to be admitted to a private CBSE school but was facing difficulties.
At the outset, Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the state government, informed the court that they were looking for child psychologists at King George’s Medical University, Lucknow to counsel the child and other students of the school.
The bench said it will take up the plea on Friday and suggested that child psychologists of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) would be better equipped to handle the matter.
Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, has sought speedy investigation in the case.
On October 30, the top court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to immediately decide on granting sanction to prosecute the school teacher accused of instructing her students to slap the Muslim child.
The top court had referred to the assertions made in the affidavit of the victim’s father that the child was “severely traumatised” and asked Nataraj to take instructions on the availability of an expert agency like NIMHANS and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which can go to the victim’s village and counsel him and other school children.
On September 25, the top court had said there cannot be quality education if a student is sought to be penalised on the ground that he belongs to a particular community.
It had pulled up the state government for a “shoddy probe” in the case where a Muslim schoolboy was slapped by his classmates allegedly on the instruction of his teacher.
Voicing displeasure over the incident, the top court had directed the UP government to appoint a senior IPS officer within a week to probe the case. The IPS officer shall file a report in the apex court, the bench had said.
The Muzaffarnagar Police had registered a case against the teacher for allegedly making communal remarks against the Muslim boy and instructing his classmates to slap him. The school was also served a notice by the state education department.
The teacher was booked after a video showed her purportedly asking students to slap the Class 2 boy in Khubbapur village and also making a communal remark.