24 September, 2020

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For Mohan Peiris Corporal Punishment Is Trivial And Victims Should Not Complain To Courts

By Colombo Telegraph

Human rights activists are appalled at the statement of Mohan Pieris, the de facto Chief Justice, made recently when he declared open a Circuit Court at Manampitiya, that some persons file fundamental rights cases even for trivial reasons. According to a Daily Mirror report, Mohan Pieris has stated that some even file fundamental rights cases when a teacher twisted a boy’s ear.

Mohan Pieris

An academic well-versed in human rights law, who spoke to Colombo Telegraph on the condition of anonymity, said that twisting the ear of a pupil is corporal punishment which has been banned by the Department of Education.

A child rights activist told Colombo Telegraph that Mohan Peiris’ statement would be an encouragement to teachers who still violate the circular of the Department of Education banning all forms of corporal punishment. There have been cases of teachers targeting particular students for various reasons ranging from caste issues to resistance to sexual advances. A child psychologist said that Mohan Peiris had given an open license to school teachers to violate Departmental regulations on corporal punishment. There have been cases of school children refusing to go to school because of being targeted by particular teachers. Some children may even be driven to suicide, the child psychologist warned.

A human rights lawyer told Colombo Telegraph that Article 11 of the Constitution prohibits not only torture but also cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. Twisting the ear of a student in the view of the entire class may be degrading to the student concerned although another student may not feel bad about it. In any case, corporal punishment is on the way out all over the world. The provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Sri Lanka is a party, is also important for child punishment, as Article 19 states: “Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation.”

In January 2005, the Supreme Court of Nepal declared that parents, other family members and teachers no longer have a defence for “minor beating” of a child under the Children Act 1992. The Court issued a directive order to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, asking them “to pursue appropriate and effective measures to prevent physical punishment as well as other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or abuse being imposed or inflicted on, or likely to be imposed or inflicted on children”. The decision followed an application made by the Center for Victims of Torture. Section 7 of the 1992 Act, protecting children from cruelty and abuse, stated that “any act by the mother, father, family member, guardian or teacher to scold the child or give him/her minor beating for the sake of his or her interests shall not be deemed to violate this section.” The words “or give him/her minor beating” were declared null and void by the Court, as being inappropriate and contrary to the Constitution.

A child rights activist stated that the National Child Protection Authority should immediately take up the matter with the Government. Mohan Pieris should be impeached for encouraging the violation of the Constitution, the rights activist stated.

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Latest comments

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    Corporal punishment for imposters is trivial and victims should not go to courts. Imposters deserve worse punishment than a kick in the pants and kicking off from office they are desecrating!

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    Mohan Peiris is going to be worse than Sarath Silva. He knows he has the protection of the Rajapakse regime.

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    Bad boy ! He should be sent to the principal’s office for some ear pulling and canning.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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    It is disgusting to hear such hypocrisy by a CJ who should be aware of the section 308a of the 1995 penal code amendment no.21! We all know that corporal punishment leaves scars in people’s minds which often leads to violence later on. Those who justify CP are people who have been beaten in childhood and has beaten their own children! Unfortunately he is not a Buddhist to know the damma pada where Buddha states violence leads to violence and we know that. Most criminals who are violent today or children in conflict with the law previously described as delinquents have been subjected to abuse and violence. Research all over the world including Sri Lanka has proved this beyond doubt. Prof GL Pieris when he brought in this law knew the importance and we would like to know what his opinion is now? Has he changed the opinion like changing party colours like a lizard?
    Today when violence is justified as boy’s playfulness, when murder is hidden under amnesia what else cannot be justified? Rape also could be justified as a man’s physiological need or ‘she asked for it’ by the lawmakers. We live in bad times!!

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    As the section 71 5 of the childrens and yong Persons ordinance is not in operation and ection 308 a of the penal code is in operation now hence no one can justify the coporal punishment

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    It all depends on what punishment is labelled or interpreted as cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Is hanging in the gallows or giving a lethal injection in gurney cruel in human and degrading?

    So each country and territory must agree on what kind of action is cruel, inhuman and degrading. There is no universal interpretation on the principle which is agreed upon internationally.

    It must be agreed that whether an adult or a child must be subject to rules which must not be transgressed at all times for the sake of the society. If a rule is violated then do we remain silent? There has to be a deterrent and a disciplinary process. Obviously, punishment is a part of it.

    As to whether Education Department circulars have brought up disciplined children in Sri Lanka is best left for the society to Judge. However, those in high and exalted positions too must be disciplined in expressing opinions because if one expresses an opinion he cannot be qualified to judge on the same matter if it appears before him or her judicially.

    SILENCE IS GOLDEN!

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    It is important to realize that the British brought corporal punishment to missionary and government schools in order to “MAINTAIN DISCIPLINE” among the natives who then would not revolt. The government would like to control the people in theIr dictatorial policy. This is why the government through cronies would like to impose violence on their subjects to control people at all levels. This is why the upper segments of the hierarchy have been passive to the issue.
    Of course as I said before, those who have been beaten and those who have beaten their own children often come out with cock and bull stories to justify their position. Violence against children activates a vicious cycle of violence by them when adults having an intergenerational effect. The same goes for sexual abuse “those who are abused today become abusers of tomorrow”

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    Comments of “gaje” is appriciated I would like to add more to those comments “British brought corporal punishment to missionary and government schools in order to “MAINTAIN DISCIPLINE” among the natives who then would not revolt” this is exactly correct thats why they introduucd the law in Children’& young persons ordinance under section 71 (6) which states thus “nothing in this section (section 71(1) Cruelty to children) shall be constued as affecting the right of any parent teacher or other person having lawfull control or charge of a child or young person to administer punishment to him”
    subsequently this provision is not in operation as our legislature decided that corporal punishment should be abolished and it was abolished by act no 23 of 2005 all the ingridiants of section 71(1) of CYPO now included to section 308a of penal code without the ingridiants of section 71(6) it clearly shows that our legislature is honouring righst of children as set out in Child right convention

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    C.J. is correct.Corporal punishment is to mould a child’s character &
    behaviour.We are in Sri Lanka & not is USA or UK, where children are
    asked to leave home once they pass the age of 16/18.NGO’s & lackys financed & fed by foreign funds are paid to destroy our culture where
    pupil treat the teacher a demi-god, and it has to be that with corporal punishment.

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    It is quite obvious now that this is not a recent trend from west and that there were many who really cared for rights of children in the past history of our country Mr J.C.Dias Mr Simon Cassie chetty (1843) and Sir Ponnambalam Ramanadan (1879) were some Sri Lankans who fought with the authorities against corpporal punishment in the legisltive council In 1916 Mr. M.T. Akbar (KC) spoke against corporal punishment specially of youth In 1934 a committee including Sir Baron Jayathilaka Sir Claude Corea Sir Susantha de Fonseka Mr J.E.M Obeysekara and mr V.E. Chavaramuttu submitted a report against corporal puynishment. Mr D.S.Senanayaka stated in a debate in the state council in refrence to some teachers who got workout of school children using corporal punishment ” when I see that sort of a thing i wish I could get hold of those men by their necks and make them do some work. We speak of cruelty to animals but to my mind it is horrible tosee big hulking persons use the cane on small boys without using the mammoties themselves and getting the small boys to do some lighterwork

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    Is corporal punishment of children an appropriate form of culture we have inherited!

    Answer:- Although ancient kings of Sri Lanka were known to have tortured “wrongdoers” there is little documentation of it neing enforced on children. History recalls VOHAWRAKQA TISSA who declared a law setting aside any bodily harm by way of punishment. King Vijayabahu 11 is also credited for his compassion. King Vijayabahu 111 extended his compasion to children
    In the hindu culture Swami vivekananda is quoted to have said ” A student’s mind has to be helped to grow and not sawed; planed and chiseled like a plank” Thus the teachers task is more that of a gardner than that of a carpenter

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    Dear Guruge
    You may be a mouthpiece for the CJ! What a silly explanation about moulding a child’ character!!! Violence against children cannot be justified. Just as the explanation given by Don from the book published by the ncpa to teachers in 2002/3, the culture of Sri Lanka was avihimsa with its roots in Buddhism. As I said before it were the British who systemised into the school system. Unfortunately Grunge feels that the Sri Lankan culture is coming from the British!! What a pity!!

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    We are a signatory to the UNCRC and we have to abide by what we agreed to. The CJ is an official of the government who should not make rash statements against what we signed for! The UNCRC monitoring committee should take note of the official stance of the government and the man at the top who is supposed to deliver justime to all including children. The representative of the the monitoring committee in SL should take it up!!

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    I think everyone has missed the point here. While I agree that no form of CP should be condoned, it is also true that not all cases of this nature need to be bought before the supreme court.
    If that is the case then there is a huge issue within our court system.

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    It is correct each and every case related to violation of fundermental right should not be brought before the supreme court citizens are at the liberty to go before the Human right commission established under act no 21 of 1996 if the issue is not amount to cruelty and the offender can be dealt under the provision of 314 of the penal code matter can be refered to the Mediation board without filing action in court

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