North India

Muslim student slapping case: Supreme Court Rebukes UP Govt.; calls the incident serious

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In a recent development, the Supreme Court has criticized the Uttar Pradesh government for its subpar investigation into a case in Muzaffarnagar involving a female teacher. This teacher had encouraged her students to physically harm a Muslim classmate and made divisive remarks within a private school setting.

The Court has further called upon the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a comprehensive report regarding the implementation of the Right To Education Act (RTE) within the state. Additionally, it emphasized the necessity of providing appropriate counseling for both the victimized child and the other students involved in the incident.

Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal, presiding over the bench, have directed the Uttar Pradesh government to appoint a senior IPS officer to conduct a meticulous probe, categorizing the incident as “serious.” This appointed officer is mandated to submit a detailed report directly to the apex court. Furthermore, the bench has urged the state government to arrange counseling sessions for the victim and other affected students, to be conducted by professional counselors.

The Court has pointed out a prima facie lapse on the part of the Uttar Pradesh government in adhering to the provisions of the RTE Act. This legislation is designed to ensure the delivery of high-quality, free, and compulsory education to children up to 14 years old, without any form of discrimination based on caste, creed, or gender.

The bench has set a deadline of four weeks for the state government to furnish a comprehensive status report regarding the implementation of the RTE Act in schools across the state, reiterating the gravity of the incident.

This development stems from a plea filed by Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, seeking an expeditious investigation in the case. On September 6, the Supreme Court had directed the Superintendent of Police in Muzaffarnagar to present a status report on the case, and instructed them to outline measures taken to safeguard the student and their parents. Additionally, the Court issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, demanding their response by September 25.

The Muzaffarnagar Police have taken action against the teacher accused of making communal comments, as well as instructing her students to physically assault a Muslim classmate due to incomplete homework. The state education department has also served notice to the school in connection with this matter.

This teacher’s involvement came to light through a video that captured her purportedly instructing students to strike a second-grade boy in Khubbapur village, while also making divisive remarks. The incident has raised serious concerns and has prompted the Supreme Court to intervene in order to ensure a thorough investigation and proper compliance with the RTE Act.

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