The Prohibition of the Corporal Punishment Act 2013

The Institute for Social Justice (ISJ) welcomes passing of the Prohibition of the Corporal Punishment Bill by the National Assembly of Pakistan which yet has to be passed by the Senate of Pakistan and then signed by the president of Pakistan. If the Bill is not passed before the dissolution of the National Assembly, it will lapse as is given in Article 76 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The law if passed by both houses of the parliament will help to set positive values and practices in educational settings but will not serve the desired purpose because it does not challenge and change the current legal status quo given in Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860.

The ISJ is worried that bill does not repeal Section 89 of the PPC, which is the major concern that results in high drop out from schools.

Section 3 (2) of the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act 2013 says “Notwithstanding anything contained in section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and any other law and regulation for the time being in force, the corporal punishment is prohibited in all its forms in schools and other educational institutions …”. It implies that any act (it also means slapping, beating) by the guardian or person having lawful charge (it also means teachers) of the child (under 12 years) in good faith for the benefit of the child is not an offence. 

Section 33 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection Welfare Act, 2010, also abolishes corporal punishment in the same way as the current law passed by the National Assembly. It says “Corporal punishment stands abolished in all its kinds and manifestations and its practice in any form is prohibited as provided under section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860”.

There is only difference of words (or language) in both laws; however, the legal status of Section 89 of the PPC remains the same. Though the ISJ considers this development a very positive, which will pave a way for constructive debate and practices that will ultimately lead to a safe and protected environment for children in all settings, that will ultimately lead to increase in literacy rate and improve in the quality of education.