The Supreme Court has pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for not counselling students who were instructed by their teacher to slap a Muslim boy inside the classroom.
“We have perused the latest TISS [Tata Institute of Social Sciences] report, which calls for the counselling of all the students who had taken part in the corporal punishment as participants and witnesses. Nothing has been done by the state, it is too late in the day now,” said Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan.
Posting the matter for further hearing on March 1, the top court directed the UP government to provide counselling for children who had been part of the incident and file a compliance affidavit under two weeks.
Additional Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh, Garima Prashad, informed the apex court that two organisations have volunteered for counselling the students and sought time to file a more detailed affidavit.
The incident took place in August 2023 at a school in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar, where an eight-year-old Muslim boy was slapped by his fellow classmates after their teacher egged them on to do so. In a viral video, the teacher can be heard saying “Mohammedans(Muslims should be beaten up”.
Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, had moved the court seeking a probe into the case.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had slammed the state government for not complying with its order to depute an agency for counselling the Muslim boy and his classmates who were instructed by their school teacher to slap him for not doing his homework. The SC had appointed TISS Mumbai to suggest the mode and manner of counselling the boy and his classmates.
In November last year, the apex court had also instructed the Uttar Pradesh government to facilitate the admission of the boy to a private school. The court had also, on October 30 last year, directed the state government to immediately consider granting sanction to prosecute the teacher.