National Assembly Approves Bill Against Corporal Punishment of Children

National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill against the corporal punishment of children in Islamabad.The ICT Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, a private member bill, was presented by PML-N MPA Mehnaz Akbar Aziz. An amendment to the bill presented by the government was also passed.

According to Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, with the amendment proposed by the government, it will now be possible for complaints to be filed in court. “The previous version of bill stated that complaints must be made to the government committee formed for the purpose,” she said. The human rights minister said that now the court can directly be approached.

According to details, the bill bans all forms of corporal punishment in all types of public and private educational institutions, child care institutions, and workplaces.

It will also penalize persons for physically assaulting and hurting children regardless of their intentions, which effectively invalidates the provisions of Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Section 89 of PPC considers the use of bodily harm against children as “an act done in good faith for the benefit of the child” and does not deem the use of corporal punishment against children as an offense.

Here are the salient features of the IPCPB:

  • Everyone under the age of 18 is identified as a minor and will be included in the definition of children.
  • Corporal punishment against children in all educational institutions, child care institutions, and workplaces will be prohibited.
  • Slapping children, whipping them, beating them with sticks, shoes, wood, or spoons, shaking them, biting them, grabbing them by the hair, or pulling their ears will be considered corporal punishment.
  • Corporal punishment also includes child abuse, humiliation, defamation, and intimidation which will be punishable with demotion, suspension, dismissal, or forced retirement.
  • Children have the right to have their personality and individuality respected and culprits of corporal punishment will not be eligible for any jobs in the future.

In the NA, the chair also referred the Compulsory Teaching of Arabic Language Bill, 2021 to the concerned standing committee of the House. The bill provides for making compulsory teaching of Arabic language to the students in all educational institutions. The bill has already been passed by the Senate. The bill was moved by the opposition members Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali and Syed Javed Hasnain. The movers wanted the legislation to be okayed by the House on Tuesday. However, with approval of majority of members as proposed by the Minister for Federal Education, the same was referred to the committee.

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