Corporal Punishments – Teachers’ Authority to hit Students

Corporal Punishments – Teachers’ Authority to hit Students

Author: Pari Agrawal
Content Manager| Leagle Samiksha

Introduction – What is Corporal Punishment?

A slap, or a beating with a scale received for the most trivial reasons, is a very common memory that many adults would associate with their school lives. Corporal punishment is one of the most common forms of brutal and exploitative practices against children[1]. Further, this kind of punishment uses physical power to torment or cause distress. It is also an infringement of children’s privileges regarding human nobility and physical respectability. In other words, it is a form of harassment faced by children in the name of disciplining them.

Despite that, corporal punishment is still legal in many regions. Whipping and caning remain the most common forms of corporal punishment[2]. This article discusses the most widespread types of corporal punishments. It also discusses the legal umbrella around the protection of children against corporal punishments. Finally, it suggests recommendations towards the conclusion.

Types of Corporal Punishments in Schools:

Corporal punishments can be of many types. Some of the most common such pactices are broadly categorised into the following three types:

Physical Punishments:
  • Keeping the schoolbag on a child’s head
  • Requiring the child to remain under the sun for long hours
  • Making the child lift his hands
  • Making child hold his ears by circling the hands behind the knees
  • Tying of hands
  • Making students do sit-ups
  • Hitting and squeezing
  • Winding the ears
  • Caning, beating knuckles with a stick or steel scale
Emotional Punishments:
  • Getting somebody from the other gender to slap the child
  • Admonishing, manhandling, and mortifying
  • Naming the student as a troublemaker and sending him around the school
  • Making the student stay back after the class to finish the work
  • Suspending the student for a few days
  • Taking the child to each study hall and embarrassing them  
  • Taking off the shirts of the young male children
Negative Enforcement:
  • Confining the child throughout the break hours
  • Locking the child in a dark room
  • Making the child sit on the floor
  • Asking a student to clean the buildings as a punishment
  • Forcing the child to take rounds of the playground
  • Prohibiting the kid to take an interest in games or different exercises
  • Not permitting the kid to enter the class

Two Schools of Thought:

An important point of consideration is the reason behind such behaviour. In other words, why do the parents or teachers punish children? There are two different kinds of approaches that may be observed. These are as follows:

One group of elders advocates the need of corporal punishment so that children may be disciplined. In other words, for limiting the wild behaviour of the children. On the other hand, the other group fights for not using the stick at all. In such a situation, school authorities find themselves in a fix. School principals even state that some of the guardians want them to beat the children to make them act well.

Liability under different principles of law:

Imposing harm or corporal punishment on children in schools can attract liability under the law of tort, i.e., civil wrong. Further, it is punishable as a criminal offence under the third exception to Section 89 (act done in good faith for benefit of child or insane person, by or by consent of guardian). In addition, hurt[3], grievous hurt[4], criminal force[5] and assault[6] are the other IPC provisions that come into play. Likewise, it contravenes various provisions of other special laws. For example, Juvenile Justice Act, Convention on the Rights of the Child, etc. Additionally, the norms and procedure prescribed by the Government, or judicial directions laid down by Supreme Court or High Court . Lastly, such activity can attract departmental action.

Need for Prohibition of Corporal Punishments

The usage of corporal punishment needs restrictions. Even in cases of malpractices in examinations, the codes and rules don’t invite caning or hitting. Further, subjecting children to physical any punishment for indiscipline or academic underachievement is unnecessary.

India being a signatory to the UN Convention on Rights of Child,1989 is under an obligation to remove cruelty towards adolescents by forbidding sticks from schools. It is a critical segment of child protection rights as expected by the Convention to set out a national strategy and department on the use of corporal punishment in schools.

The Way Forward:

  1. Firstly, the Education division must be all around equipped with fundamental work power. An organized system also needs to be drawn up where clarifications can be pursued.
  2. Secondly, the parent’s association ought to survey such an organization of schools for these forms of punishments. Further, they should reliably work to eradicate isolated malignant incidents. Collection of association should meet routinely in order to address these issues.
  3. Lastly, Child Rights Committees in Schools could be formulated and enacted for keeping a check on administration of corporal punishments on children.


The random beatings by the guardians frustrate the children. It is also the reason why many children run away from their homes, or drop out of schools. There are a couple of dreadful experiences depicted by adolescents saying that they went to work since they couldn’t stand the beatings and maltreatment from the teachers, either for not responding to attendance call, or not doing homework, or for not answering the questions suitably[9]. Corporal punishment also makes them vulnerable to living their lives on the streets. As a result, they face many other kinds of dangers. Further, due to repeated abuse, children lose their childhood.

The education system should work towards inculcating necessary workforce that can balance a child’s actions and teachers reactions. The parent’s association plays a critical role in checking the organization of schools as for these punishments. Conducting parents meeting regularly to address these issues will also be helpful. In conclusion, it is important to understand that children have a very impressionable mind. They deserve to be dealt with care and affection at all places, including their schools.

[1] Corporal Punishment, Council Of Europe, (September 11, 2020, 11 AM)

[2] Brionne Frazier, What Is Corporal Punishment? Is It Still Allowed?, THOUGHTCO., (13th September, 2020, 2:00 PM) URL:

[3] Sec 319, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act no. 45 of 1860)

[4] Sec 320, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act no. 45 of 1860)

[5] Sec 350, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act no. 45 of 1860)

[6] Sec 351, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act no. 45 of 1860)

[9] Madhubhushi Sridhar, Corporal Punishments: Violation of Child Rights in Schools, PARENT CIRCLE, (July 26, 2020, 1.50 PM)

Editor: Kaanchi Ahuja
Content Manager | Leagle Samiksha

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