Kerala HC: Prevention-Oriented Programmes on Sexual Abuse Must be Set up by CBSE

Kerala HC Law Insider

Priya Gour

Published on: 27th August, 2022 at 16:47 IST

The Kerala High Court issued directions for the Kerala government and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to inculcate compulsory prevention-oriented programmes on sexual abuse in every school in the state.

The Court was hearing a bail application in reference to a complaint by a minor girl. The complainant alleged rape by the petitioner. She was in a relationship with the petitioner with the intention to marrying him. The minor girl got impregnated and refused to terminate the pregnancy.

The bench said, “The voice of the victim of sexual abuse should not be suppressed, and it is only through education that the victim can be empowered to speak out.”

“Similarly, it is education on the punishments for sexual abuse that can prevent or deter possible abusers from indulging in such heinous acts.”

“A prevention-oriented programme on sexual abuse is therefore a facet of the right to education contemplated under Article 21A of the Constitution of India.”

The bench also relied upon the US legislation, Erin’s Law, and suggested a similar system by Kerala schools and CBSE.

“The programme involves the teaching of students from pre-kindergarten to the twelfth grade, age-appropriate techniques to identify and recognise child sexual abuse.”

“The programme also includes the requirement to teach the school personnel, including the teachers, all about child sexual abuse and also the parents and guardians about the warning signs of child sexual abuse, needed assistance or resource information to support sexually abused children and their families.”

Thus, the court strongly emphasised that a prevention-oriented programme on sexual abuse is a facet of the right to education contemplated under Article 21A of the Constitution. So, the State should work over it.

The court, using its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution, directed:

  • The State of Kerala and the CBSE shall ensure compulsory prevention-oriented programme on sexual abuse in the curriculum;
  • A Committee of Experts shall be formed by the State of Kerala and the CBSE be formed for the methodology within 2 months from today;
  • The committee should make recommendations within six months, with implementation beginning in the academic year 2023-24;
  • The Secretary/Secretary General of the respondents and all other officers concerned are bound by the directions.

Thus, the Court has issued the directions due to rising sexual offences on school children and to raise awareness in schools about the POCSO Acts.

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