The recent shameful cases of an International school in Gurgaon where a seven-year-old boy was brutally murdered in the toilet of the school, a famous school in Delhi where a small girl was raped by the school staff and the slapping case of a school in Noida, are skid marks in the criminal history of India, which have left the country with little scope of revival of its morale. Vedatrayee, a young Kolkata-based lawyer, takes a legal view, in the crime against children, as a part of the Special Feature, exclusively in Different Truths.
Children are the father of the future. Sadly, the present scenario witnesses rising immoral and inhumane crimes against these most valuable assets of the nation. Crime and child are two words that should never have been intermingled. As if it was not enough that children are made to go through inexplicable agony with the offenses victimising their parents and other relatives, they are now the target of perpetrators, being the most vulnerable beings. The consequences of such crimes against children are graver than what they are perceived to be, threatening not only the present but also the future of the generations. The range of these ugly activities includes child abuse, trafficking, illicit child labour, bonded labour and other unlawful acts.
Man has hit the rock bottom of criminal psychology by murdering, exploiting and abusing children for the sake of doing what they want to do. Shamefully, the rise in crimes against children have become a new trend in the field of criminology. Statistics show that there has been a rise sharp of crimes against children since 1990s. The number of reported crimes against children more than doubled between 2012 and 2013 and increased by 50% between 2014 and 2015, data from National Crime Records Bureau show. Nearly 90,000 crimes against children have registered in 2014 of which over 37,000 involved kidnaps and abduction and nearly 14,000 involved rapes. However, the recent shameful cases of an International school in Gurgaon where a seven-year-old boy was brutally murdered in the toilet of the school, a famous school in Delhi where a small girl was raped by the school staff and the slapping case of a school in Noida, are skid marks in the criminal history of India, which have left the country with little scope of revival of its morale.
Parents, rich or poor, send their wards off to school so that they can make a life for themselves and fulfill their ambitions. Schools are supposed to be the starting point of our exposure to the external world and our first chance to show ourselves and start on a new journey of life. Times have changed. So much that schools are no more a shelter but a ‘crime scene’.
A seven-year-old boy, who is not fully aware of what death looks like is murdered in his school when he goes to the toilet. His body was found there with his windpipe slit open. CCTV footage shows him painfully crawling out of the toilet. The alleged accused is no intruder or trespasser but the staff of the same school. Take one moment and think what the world has come to. This is not only a humiliation of the legal system but poses the question on the foundation of the long fought for Independence. The management of the school is responsible for penal negligence. They must understand that no amount of compensation can compensate the parents of the loss of their child. There must be justice so that such crimes do not occur in the future. The principal of the school defending the management by calling the school a victim and his getting protection against arrest is a complete travesty of justice. If this continues, there will be no end to such crimes as all that a school management will have to do is have political connections and a lot of money to feed the lawyers and police and their negligence shall be covered. Lack of prompt action boosts the confidence of the criminals. It must be added here that just as we demand action against the management of the school, there must also be stringent actions against the management of the country, the ministers that is, for every crime death in India. The rule of law must be the same for everyone.
The Delhi school rape case is another shocking incident but unfortunately not the first of its kind. There have been innumerable cases before this where students have faced sexual abuse in their schools. The recurrence of these atrocities bears testimony of the inadequate penal system. There is a long list of laws in India for the protection of rights of children. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 vide sections 366A, 366B, 372, 373, 375 and 376, provides punishments for sexual abuse and trafficking of children. Sections 4-6 of The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, passed in pursuance of the International Convention signed at New York, provides punishment for involving children in prostitution and like purposes. Despite provisions of IPC, I.T.P Act and Prevention of Sexual Offences Act, 2012, child abuse, rape, trafficking and child prostitution continues to be the country’s dismay. The penal provisions in IPC and Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, relating to criminal negligence especially of educational and other child organisations must be made more stringent and most importantly must be implemented more responsibly.
Legal provisions are there and they have always been there. But without proper implementation, they stand no chance in the betterment of the country. Social betterment is a vital aspect in this regard. Without a progressive society, the law cannot do what it is supposed to do. As long as there is no moral improvement of the masses, these crimes will continue to raise their heads time and again. The management of the country, as I said before, must take this responsibility. Writing, debating for and joining candle marches are in vague if the incidence is forgotten after some time and is covered by another TRP boosting breaking news.
Photos from the Internet
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A young lawyer by profession from The City of Joy, Vedatrayee is currently pursuing LLM from Calcutta University. She is a Bharatanatyam danseuse who has won a number of prestigious awards and performed in several National Festivals and Competitions throughout the country. Another passion that stirs her from deep within is the welfare of street and abandoned animals. She volunteers for a sociocultural endeavor, Swatantra, striving for the social, cultural and behavioral empowerment of the population.