News : Set Up Toll-free Helpline for Women Students, Says Madras High Court
Chennai, India, April, 2019 -- The Madras High Court said a toll-free number should be set up in schools, colleges and universities for students to report sexual harassment and has given eight weeks for the government to do this.
The order was issued while hearing a petition filed by a Coimbatore government school headmaster, Ranganathan, objecting to his transfer in 2017 to a school 2 km from where he worked. Similarly, another headmistress, Malliga, has sought to be transferred to a school in R S Puram in Coimbatore. Both cases were taken up for hearing by Justice S M Subramanium.
During the hearing, the judge observed that there are several reports about illegal activities and sexual harassment in schools, colleges and universities in recent days.
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"To make it easier for students to report any such incident, a toll-free number should be set up by the government. A circular in this regard should be sent to all educational institutions. This number should be set up within eight weeks and it should be made available 24 hours," the judge decreed.
The order has been issued at a time when incidents like Pollachi sexual abuse have rocked the State.
The judge also said the teachers stage protests against the government which will set a bad example among the students.
"The government should punish anyone who indulges in such acts without showing mercy," he said.
As far as the case is concerned, the judge said since the schools are within 2 km, the transfer was not needed and also asked the headmaster and headmistress to plant 50 saplings in their schools.
The judge asked the district commissioner to submit a report on this.
TAKING TUITION ‘ILLEGAL’
The judge condemned teachers who take tuition to make money and said it was illegal. He asked the government to take severe action against teachers who take tuition.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami last year launched a helpline – 181 – for women in distress. Women who face trouble in public places, homes or workplaces can call the number to get legal or police aid and medical services.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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