1. Home
  2. English
  3. School Children at PM’s Roadshow: Madras HC Questions Registering Criminal Case against School Management
School Children at PM’s Roadshow: Madras HC Questions Registering Criminal Case against School Management

School Children at PM’s Roadshow: Madras HC Questions Registering Criminal Case against School Management

Social Share

NEW DELHI, Apr 4: The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Coimbatore city police to explain by Monday how the mere presence of schoolchildren in uniform during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s roadshow on March 18 would necessitate the registration of a criminal case against the school management.

Justice G. Jayachandran posed multiple questions to the prosecution during the hearing of a petition filed by the headmistress of a middle school to quash a First Information Report (FIR) registered on March 19 on the basis of a complaint lodged by District Child Protection Officer Pavithra Devi.

The judge primarily wanted to know how Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which deals with assaulting, abandoning, abusing, exposing or wilfully neglecting children in a manner likely to cause mental or physical suffering, would get attracted in the present case.

A law officer replied that the school management had “exposed” 32 students to unnecessary mental and physical suffering by taking them to watch the roadshow in a crowded place, just because there was a delay on the part of their parents in coming to school to pick them up.

However, the judge wondered whether the criminal case could be filed solely at the instance of the District Child Protection Officer, who had come to know about the incident only through media reports. He pointed out that none of the parents appeared to have lodged any complaint.

Further, no untoward incident had been reported at the roadshow, the judge said, and cautioned the police against being carried away by media reports. He said the police must not end up registering criminal cases against school managements as a knee jerk reaction to media pressure.

When the law officer said an Assistant Returning Officer, too, had reported the incident since the model code of conduct had come into force on March 18, the judge said in the instant case, the children had not been used for any election campaign and they had simply watched a roadshow.

Stating that the decision to be taken in the present case would have a large-scale bearing on similar issues touching upon the presence of children in political events, the judge asked the law officer to do his homework and come prepared with case laws to argue the matter at length on Monday.

“When we were children, all of us used to go to see celebrities and politicians during their election campaigns. Some time ago, when the High Court initiated departmental action against a judicial officer for attending a political meeting, he argued that in a democracy, it is his right to attend a meeting to know the ideology of that political party. So, this is an important issue to be decided,” the judge said.

He also extended, until further orders, the interim protection granted to the school management by Justice N. Anand Venkatesh last week by directing the police not to take any coercive action.

Earlier, Assistant Returning Officer of the Coimbatore Parliamentary Constituency, P. Suresh, had on March 20 issued a notice to the BJP district unit president J. Ramesh Kumar regarding the participation of the school children in the Prime Minister’s roadshow on March 18. The notice sought an explanation from him regarding the breach of the election Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and sought a report.

The District Education Officer (for private schools) issued a notice to the management responsible for sending 22 students from three schools affiliated with the Chinmaya Vidyalaya Group in Vadavalli and R. S. Puram to the political event, while donning the BJP insignia.

Earlier on Tuesday, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against the management of a government-aided school, by the Sai Baba Colony Police, for their involvement in the Modi roadshow.

Footage circulating on social media showed students from the private school disembarking their bus at Sai Baba Colony junction, hours before the event commenced. Several children were dressed as Hindu deities, engaging in religious chants and performances organised by BJP workers. The children were identified wearing saffron stoles with the BJP insignia.

In a video shared on X, and submitted to the District Election Officer (DEO), teachers from the school expressed their support for the Prime Minister, stating their happiness at his visit to Coimbatore and confirming the school’s participation in the event.

DEO (private schools) Senthil Kumar, confirmed the initiation of an inquiry into the school based on the evidence and said, “The school’s management has been instructed to submit a report on the incident immediately. The District Child Protection officer has also been informed of the situation.”

(Manas Dasgupta)



Your email address will not be published.

Join our WhatsApp Channel

And stay informed with the latest news and updates.

Join Now
revoi whats app qr code