IN what could be called a historic step aimed at providing a safer and enabling environment to the children for education, National Assembly the other day unanimously gave the final nod to legislation that when enacted would make corporal punishment and humiliation of children a punishable offence with minor and major penalties for the violators.
The House showed rare unity in passing the bill as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were on the same page against the corporal punishment.
The proposed law, which will now go to the Senate, will penalize teachers for assault and hurt inflicted upon children, regardless of intention, cancelling out the provisions of Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code which had allowed teachers and guardians to administer physical punishment “in good faith” and “for the benefit” of the child.
We are confident the bill will also sail through the Upper House to become law after the ascent of the President. Indeed over the last two years under the present regime, some important pieces of legislation have been enacted including those relating to ensuring the inheritance rights of women, checking abuse of children besides protecting the rights of transgenders.
This really indicates the PTI government is working in accordance with its manifesto to ensure justice in the society and protect the rights of the weaker segments of the society.
Endeavours of the Ministries of Law as well as Human Rights in this regard need to be applauded.
At the same time it is important to ensure full compliance and implementation of these laws.
Corporal punishment is against children’s fundamental rights of dignity, survival, development and protection.
When a child gets physical punishment, society is telling them and an entire generation that violence is a valid mean of resolving a problem.
This law will not just protect our children but also lay the foundation for a safer, kinder and more peaceful Pakistan.
In order to ensure the law has a practical impact, it is necessary that the federal government devises accompanying rules of business covering referral mechanisms, reporting and penalties as well as systematic national awareness programs within six months as advised in the bill.