शनिवार, 23 जनवरी 2016

Mal-functioning of Odisha Child Rights Commission

Odisha Child Rights Commission- An Institution  committed to protect  the interest  of the Private English-medium Schools  at the  cost of the rights of the Children- A glaring  Case Study

The unholy alliance of the OSCPCR with English-Medium Private School is  exposed.


 All of  you  might  be aware  that on 20.1.16  a news  has been  covered in Sambad News paper  about  immediate intervention of  District  Child Protection Officer, Koraput  and  police action to arrest  lady administrator  and teacher  of  Sunabeda   Public School ( Private English-Medium School) for physically torturing a child in the  school. But here in Bhubaneswar,  though  the  complaint  about  physical torture  and humiliation of two children  in  two  Private Schools i.e, Sai International School and   Bhubaneswar Model School known as  Takshasila School has  been lodged  to OSCPCR  and Child Welfare  Committee, Khurda for 3 months,  no  action has been taken  against the culprits. The functioning of the  Child Rights  Commission has been questionable for their blatant failure to protect the right of the children. Rather, OSCPCR which has mandate to provide protection to the children, is seen as agent of the Private Schools.       

As per  section 13, 14 and 15 of  Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005,  the Odisha State Commission  for  Protection of Child Rights ( OSCPCR )  is  required to  inquire  into  violation of child rights suo moto , inquire into  complaints  relating to deprivation, torture and non-implementation  of  laws  providing  for protection  and development of the  children. After  enquiry, the Commission  shall take the following steps.

Section 15 (i) where  the inquiry  discloses, the  commission of  violation of child rights  of a serious nature  or contravention  of provisions  of any law  for the time being  in force, it may recommend  to the concerned Government  or authority  the initiation of proceedings for the prosecution  or such other action  as the Commission may dim fit  against the  concerned person or persons;
(ii) the Commission may approach  the Supreme Court  or the High Court for such direction, orders or writ as that the court may deem necessary;
(iii) the Commission  may recommend  to the concerned  Government  or authority  for the grant  of such  interim relief  to the victim  or the members  of his family  as the commission may consider necessary.

Similarly,  Section 16 of the Right to Education Act,2009 prescribes  that No child admitted  in a school  shall be held back  in any class  or expelled  from the school  till the completion of elementary  education. Section 17 of the RTE Act  also says that  No child  shall be subjected  to physical  punishment  or mental harassment.

Let us examine how the OSCPCR has failed  to adher   to the abovementioned powers and protected the rights of the child.

Case Study-1
 Srikant Auropratik, son of Prakash Ch. Nayak  and Mrs. Amita Subhada ( M-8763790311) , a Class-9 student  was physically tortured, humiliated  and mentally harassed ( scolding and misbehaving) by the authority of Takshashila Model School, IRC Village, Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar   and suddenly dropped  to  Class-VIII in the middle of the year  on the ground of bad performance. When the parents asked for Progress Report    of the child,  the authority of the school  continued to ignore their request  till yet. The parents were also threatened to take back to other schools without citing any ground. Though the parents  appraised  the authority that “no school was ready to take student in mid-session as CBSE registration has completed”, the authority remained adamant  and asked the parents to take the children back.  Ultimately,  Srikant  Auropratik  was humiliated and suffered from mental depression   and forced to leave the school on 29.10.15.

Thenon 2nd Nov.15, the parents filed the petition before Secretary, School & Mass Education, Govt. of Odisha  on Grievance day and explained the harassment and handed over the petitions and the documents. The Secretary immediately issued order to Director, secondary Education and Director, Elementary Education for necessary action so that child is not dropped out.  But astonishingly, after one month, the Director, Elementary Education ordered enquiry into the matter and directed DEO, Khurda and BEO, Bhubaneswar to look into the matter and report back within 7 days. (GRC Application No: 269/2850/15, DEO. Khurda letter No: 21125 dated 4th December, 2015).  On 13.1.16, the Assistant Block Education Officer introducing him as Inquiry Officer made  a call  to the parents  and sought the information.  Though three months passed, no step has been taken by the administration to get the child admitted in the school. 

 Then, on 3.11.15, the Parents approached the Odisha Child Rights Commission by filling complaints levelling details of allegation, mental torture, harassment caused to their son    and seeking quick justice for their child. Ms. Rajalaxmi Das, Member, OSCPCR   registered  the case ( Case No.-810/15 )  on 4.11.15 and initiated the enquiry.  The details of enquiry is  as follows.

a.    On 12.11.15, the  Commission  heard   from the Child  and father ,but  did not  allow the Mother  to be heard, though she was involved  in the case  and victim  of the rough behaviour of the authority of the school.

b.    After around one month on 10.12.15, the two-member Commission heard the case inviting both the parties. Interestingly, the Commission did not allow the representative of the petitioner to plead their case, in spite of several requests.

c.    On 16.12.15, the Commission again issued notice for hearing of the case. The petitioners approached the Commission to allow their representative to plead the case. While the Commission turned down the request of the petitioner, but allowed the representative of the School Authority.   The Case was heard and nothing happened.

d.    The Commission verbally told the parents that the case to be heard on 28thDec.15. But the hearing was abruptly postponed and no communication was made to the petitioner.

Analysis

A.                  Till yet,  the Commission  has neither  provided the proceedings of the hearing  nor its final order to the petitioner.

B. As a statutory body committed to protect the right of the Child for which it is mandated, the Commission has precariously failed to discharge their duties   to ensure admission of the child in the school.

C. As the child was physically tortured, humiliated   the Commission could have ordered to file FIR for enquiry into it. But the Commission maintained ominous silence till today.   

D. The Academic career of a child got destroyed due to inaction of Child Rights Commission having unholy alliance with  corrupt private schools.

E.  The Child Rights Commission precariously failed to observe the law of the land and enforce section 16 and 17 of the Right to Education Act.

On the other hand,  on 10.1.16, Sri Pradip Pradhan,  State Convener, Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan  filed  a petition to the Chairman, Child Welfare Committee , Khurda to take immediate step to  get the child admitted  in the Bhubaneswar Model School  and initiate legal proceeding against the people responsible for torturing the child. Though ten days passed, the Child Welfare Committee has not taken any steps to protect the  right of the Child.


Case Study-2
Aum Prasad Das, son of Sri Pramod Das, a child belonging to disadvantaged community was admitted in Pre-school ( KG-1)  in  Sai International School in 7.3.2011 on recommendation of  then Minister for  School and Mass Education, Govt. of Odisha   as per section  12 (1) (c)  of the RTE Act( the Private  Schools shall admit  in Class 1, to the extent of at least  twenty-five percent  of the strength of that Class, children belonging  to weaker  section  and disadvantaged  group in the  neighbourhood  and provide  free and compulsory  elementary   education  till its  completion.  Though the authority allowed the admission of the child, but later on forcibly collected money in the name of different fees from time to time.  Finding no opportunity for redressal of grievances and love for   education of their sons, the parents managed to pay the fees.  When the demand for fees crossed the limit, the parents opposed and expressed their reluctance to pay the fees.  Then, the authority of the school not only harassed and tortured the child but discriminated in the school. Harassed, humiliated and depressed psychologically, Aum Prasad was forced to leave the school.       

In their pursuit to get justice, Sri Pramod Das, Father of Aum Prasad Das filed a complaint dated 25.9.15 to Governor, Odisha  against Sai International School and to get  justice for his child.   Though the complaint was forwarded to the Secretary,  Dept. of School and Mass Education and Sai International School, they have not taken any steps  to ensure justice to the child.     

Then, Sri Das filed complaint to OSCPCR on 19.9.15   describing details of allegations of  deliberate harassment, persistent intimidating behaviour to  his child Aum Prasad Das, segregating him  from other students, open denouncement  in the presence of other students  etc.  and sought immediate intervention  of the Commission to provide justice  to his  son and initiate legal action against the authority of the School.

A.              The Complaint was lying pending  and gathering dust  in the office of Commission  for one and half months.  Then,  acting  upon the complaint registered  as Case No. 770/2015, the Commission  issued  order dated 4.11.15 to Sai International School  to allow  the child  Aum Prasad Das  to attend the classes  and to provide  him  with all the facilities  as provided earlier and issued notice to both the parties  for submission of  documents  in their favour .

B.             Though  the School Authority admitted  the child  in the  school, but  still did not ensure   the  facilities  availed  by the child earlier.

C.             On 9.11.15,  while  submitting the documents, the Complainant  informed the  Commission that  his son had taken admission  in the  school  under disadvantaged  group  as per Right to Education Act.  But the Authority continued to collect   from him different kind of fees since admission and   demanded full payment of fees in 2015 which was unbearable on his part to pay it.

D.             On 16.11.15, the Complainant informed the Commission about denial of facilities to his  son in the School. But Ms. Rajalaxmi Das, Member, OSCPCR  did not  hear his grievances and refrained  from taking any steps against the School Authority.


E.              On 26.11.15,  the Commission  heard the case  but did not allow the representative of the Complainant  for pleading, though  the Commission had written in her letter  to  the Complainant  to appear  in person  or with  the representatives  along with the documents. However the complainant was forced to appear for pleading the case with his little knowledge. Though the Complainant raised the issue of child torture and harassment in the school, the Commission remained  silence over it.

F.               The Commission again heard the case on 18.11.15.  The Complainant again requested the Commission to allow his representative to plead the case. But Ms. Rajalaxmi Das, Member hearing the case violently turned down the request. However, the hearing ended with no result. 

G.             Though the Commission assured  for further hearing, but  it did not conduct any hearing   and  passed the order  on 6.1.2016 which  was received by the Petitioner  on 18.1.16.

H.             Though  the petitioner appraised  the Commission  time and again  about the  humiliation and discrimination suffered  by the Child  in the school during hearing,  the Commission  neither heard it  nor  passed  any order  for   enquiry into it nor initiated  any legal action  against the culprits. It  deserves to be mentioned here that  the  Child  is still suffering from humiliation , harassment and depression.

I.                In its  order,  the Commission has directed the  School  authorities  to provide the basic  educational facilities  to  Sri Om Prakash  Das  as per RTE Act and further direct  to the petitioner to submit all relevant  documents  to the School  authorities  within a period of one month  to avail  the benefit  of RTE Act.

Analysis of the Decision of the OSCPCR
A.       The  major allegation  of the petitioner  was that  his child  was physically tortured, humiliated  and harassed   by the School Teacher time and  again. At last, the  child who was suffering from mental trauma  and depression   was denied  to enter into the school.    The Commission in its order has completely  ignored  it  and not recommended any action  against  the authority  and teachers of the School.  The unholy alliance of the Member, OSCPCR  with  the authority  of Sai International School  is established  as apprehended   from the very  beginning  the way  the omission was dealing the case.

B.       In its order, the Commission has written down the details of the argument and counter-argument made    with reference to the laws which led to final decision.  The Commission has precariously failed to maintain minimum judicial decorum during hearing and disposal of the case. Though the Petitioner   approached several times to the Commission to get the copy of the proceeding of the hearing, the Commission   could not be able to provide him.

C.      Similarly, the Commission did  not allow  the representative of the petitioner to plead  for  him during  hearing despite several requests. It raises  number of the issues  relating to functioning  of the Commission. It may be  the Commission does not have  knowledge  about  judicial decorum of the country or   the Commission might  be under impression  that her  ignorance about law  would be exposed  by expert-representative of the petitioner or  the Commission’s nexus  with  Private  School  would be exposed in broad day-light.

D.     However, the Commission succeeded  in manipulating  judicial procedure in favour  of Private School  and  proved as  most trusted  agent of that School.

E.      Last but  not least,  the  final order of the  Commission   passed on 6.1.16  was communicated   to the  Petitioner  on dated 12.1.16  by post which was received  by the petitioner  on 18.1.16 , on the same day,  a Caveat Petition   filed by  the Advocate  of Sai International School   in Odisha High Court reached  to the petitioner by post. It is proved that  the Commission sent its  copy of the order first  to the Authority of the  School  giving  them opportunity to  consult advocate  to  take  pre-cautionary measure  which was manifested  in form of  filling  Cavet  Petition by the authority.  It  shows how Ms. Ralalaxmi Das,  Member of OSCPCR  is serious, determined  and dedicated   to protect the interest of  Sai International School. Earlier allegation   about the Commission acting  as Agent  of the  Private School  was found  true and justified.


  Pradip Pradhan
M-9937843482
Date- 22.1.16

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