CALCUTTA: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh received a shock as the Calcutta High Court issued a contempt notice against him and other officials over an incident in which a 10-year-old student was made to lick urine as punishment for bed-wetting.
A division bench in Calcutta on Friday directed a petitioner to serve a contempt notice to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is the chancellor of Visva Bharati (V- B) University, and four others over 10-year-old student Punita Singh being forced to drink her own urine as a punishment for bed-wetting.
Chief Justice JN Patel and Justice Sambudha Chakraborty while hearing a public interest content which claimed that the Visva-Bharati, by inflicting physical punishment, has violated the court’s earlier command against the form of punishment.
“The court has asked me to serve contempt notice to the PM, who is the chancellor, as well as Vice Chancellor Sushanta Dutta Gupta, Registrar Mani Mukut Mitra, warden Uma Poddar and West Bengal Education Secretary Bikram Sen,” said Tapas Bhanja, who filed the PIL.
In 2009, the court had framed proper guidelines where it was observed that the students need to be counselled instead of handing out physical punishment.The court had also asked the state to carry out publicity campaigns against physical punishment in schools.
The incident occurred last Saturday’s evening when Poddar, while on an inspection, pulled up the girl for bed-wetting. She allegedly then sprinkled salt on the urine and made the girl lick her urine as a punishment.
After the girl told her mother about the ordeal, her parents and several other people stormed the hostel premises and allegedly battered Poddar.
Following the incident, the university – located in Birbhum district – set up a four-member fact-finding committee, headed by former dean of students’ welfare Aruna Mukherjee, to probe the matter.