IHC bans corporal punishment for children under the age of 12

Published February 13, 2020
Singer and rights activist Shehzad Roy speaks to the media outside the IHC on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
Singer and rights activist Shehzad Roy speaks to the media outside the IHC on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday suspended till further notice section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that allows for the use of corporal punishment by parents, guardians and teachers "in good faith for the benefit".

Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) will, however, remain suspended only in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

In its written order, the court noted that "corporal punishments are not in consonance with the constitutionally guaranteed right of inviolability of dignity notwithstanding section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860."

The court also directed the human rights ministry to submit a report on the "status of the compliance with the obligations of the State of Pakistan under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to the prohibition of corporal punishment". The IHC also instructed the federal government to "advise the Private Education Institutions Regulatory Authority to issue guidelines to the private schools" in light of the court's observations.

A petition in the IHC, submitted by singer and rights activist Shehzad Roy yesterday, called for a ban on use of violence as a means to discipline children in school.

In his petition, Roy argued that Section 89 of the PPC allows for use of violence and force against children.

"Last year, a child passed away because of the use of corporal punishment in a school in Lahore," Roy's lawyer told the court while adding that the matter of abolishing the use of corporal punishment was of public interest.

The lawyer, while explaining the reason for Roy's interest in the matter, said that the singer-turned-activist has established an organisation for educational reforms.

"The parliament also passed some bill on the matter as well," IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who was hearing the case, recalled.

"We want that the use of corporal punishment is banned while the parliament goes about making laws on the matter," the lawyer responded while adding that corporal punishment has extremely adverse effects on children's mental and physical health.

Hearing this, Justice Minallah suspended section 89 of the PPC which says: "Nothing which is done in good faith for the benefit of a person under twelve years of age [...] by or by consent of the guardian or other person having lawful charge of that person, is an offence by reason of any harm which it may cause."

The court said that the interior ministry should safeguard the rights of children, while also asking for a reply on the matter from the federal government by March 5.

Speaking to the media outside Islamabad High Court, Roy said: "When a child is born, parents hit him, when he goes to school, teachers hit him, when he grows older and goes out in the society, police hits him to make him a better person. Contrarily, research shows that the use of violence only increases violence."

Later, taking to Twitter, he expressed his gratitude, saying: "I am grateful that the operation of brutal, inhuman & unconstitutional colonial-era law section 89 has been suspended/stopped by Chief Justice Athar Minallah on @ZindagiTrust petition in all the federal jurisdiction & Islamabad. Congrats to all my dear children of Islamabad & Pakistan."

Opinion

The sixth wave

The sixth wave

PCR testing has drastically gone down in Pakistan and our disease surveillance system needs much more strengthening.

Editorial

Udaipur killing
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Udaipur killing

The crime committed in Udaipur did not happen in a vacuum.
Unacceptable demand
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Unacceptable demand

Negotiating with extremists is tricky; no peace treaty with them has lasted beyond a few months.
Tough times ahead
01 Jul, 2022

Tough times ahead

THE finance ministry’s projection of 15pc inflation, much higher than the targeted rate of 11.5pc, during the new...
More ‘prior actions’
Updated 30 Jun, 2022

More ‘prior actions’

It is crucial that the IMF reconsiders its stance and releases the funds at the earliest to calm uneasy markets.
Growing power crisis
30 Jun, 2022

Growing power crisis

THE country’s escalating power crisis risks exacerbating the law-and-order situation as people take to the streets...
Attack on polio team
30 Jun, 2022

Attack on polio team

THE threat of deadly violence never seems to diminish for health workers and police officials involved in...