Supreme Court says punishing students for indiscipline is not provocation for suicide

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The inspections were made by the apex court while cancelling an FIR U/s 306 IPC against a school teacher accused of abatement of the suicide of a 9th Class student. The Supreme Court on Tuesday said if a student is simply reprimanded by a teacher for an act of indiscipline and when the same is conveyed to the parents to discipline the child. Reprimanding a student for his indiscipline would not be tantamount to provoking a student to commit suicide unless there are repeated specific allegations of harassment, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.

A grade 9 student had died by suicide and left a note blaming the teacher. The mother lodged an FIR alleging that her son committed suicide due to mental harassment meted out by the teacher. "Insofar as, the suicide note is concerned, despite our minute examination of the same, all we can say is that suicide note is a rhetoric document, penned down by an immature mind," noted the bench. The bench said a criminal trial is not exactly a pleasant experience and the appellant who is a teacher would certainly suffer great prejudice if he has to face prosecution on absurd allegations of irrelevant nature.

"If, a student is simply reprimanded by a teacher for an act of indiscipline and bringing the continued act of indiscipline to the notice of Principal Of the institution who conveyed to the parents of the student for the purposes of school discipline and correcting a child, any student who is very emotional or sentimental commits suicide, can the said teacher be held liable for the same and charged and tried for the offence of abetment of suicide under section 306 IPC.. Our answer to the said question is 'No'.", the bench of Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari observed while quashing a criminal case against a teacher. The bench set aside an order of Rajasthan High Court which refused to quash an FIR against a Physical Training (PT) teacher who was accused of abatement of the suicide of the student, The apex court said a simple act of reprimand of a student for his behaviour or indiscipline by a teacher, who is under moral obligations to inculcate the good qualities of a human being in a student would definitely not amount to instigation or intentionally aid to the commission of suicide by a student.

Finally, the supreme court said; “It is not only a moral duty of a teacher but one of the legally assigned duties under Section 24 (e) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 to hold regular meetings with the parents and guardians and apprise them about the regularity in attendance, ability to learn, progress made in learning and any other act or relevant information about the child”.