Kolkata: An internal school inquiry by La Martiniere school into the suicide of 13-year old Rouvanjit Rawla confirms that the school principal, Sunirmal Chakarvarthy, was indeed guilty of misconduct when he caned Rouvanjit and two of his classmates for indiscipline. But the report has de-linked the principal's action from Rouvanjit’s death and the school authorities are yet to confirm its action taken against the accused.
Former member, Governing Council, La Martiniere for Boys, KS David said, “The rules and regulations of the school have a clearly laid down procedure on how to proceed in cases of gross misconduct. This has not been followed."
Provisions listed in the Staff Rules and Regulations suggest that the minimum penalty for such misconduct is suspension and can extend to termination from service with disqualification from future employment. But since the accused was let off with only a warning, questions are being raised about the fairness of that inquiry.
"All these acting governors are there for one year at the pleasure of the chairman which makes it very difficult for impartial and unbiased functioning," said KS David.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR) is yet to submit its report on the case. But members say the accused must be suspended till the police investigation is over.
Member, NCPCR, Ashok Agarwal said, "We will in our report say that corporal punishment was rampant in the school. The possibility of linking this humiliation to the suicide cannot be ruled out. Had this humiliation not taken place this death could have been avoided."
The NCPCR recommendations are not binding on the school. However, with West Bengal sharing the dubious distinction of being among the top states to record students' suicide on account of humiliation in schools, it's time that the state government acted firmly to prevent such mishaps.