The court directed the government to set it up within eight weeks from the date of the order.

TN govt ordered to set up toll-free line for sexual crime complaints by studentsFile Image
news Court Tuesday, April 09, 2019 - 15:19

The Madras High Court has ordered the government of Tamil Nadu to set up a toll-free number for reporting instances of sexual crimes in schools and colleges.

The court passed the order on Tuesday while hearing a writ petition filed by a headmaster of a government girls’ school who had been transferred, and wanted the transfer revoked. While the judges dismissed the petition, calling it frivolous, they also decided to speak about sexual crimes in schools and colleges. (Incidentally, the petition does not have anything to do with sexual harassment.)

The court ordered the school education department to set up a toll-free number for receiving complaints of school and college students about the instances of sexual harassment they face.

Slamming the authorities for not being sensitive to the increasing number of sexual crimes involving school children, the judges said that the action taken to address such issues are not consistent. “They (the authorities) are pretending to be sensitive, but actually not. If at all, the genuinity in sensitiveness is to be established, consistent and constant actions are to be initiated. No such actions are initiated. Contrarily, they are closing the issues by taking action in a particular case alone,” they said.

Stating the importance of an accessible platform to report such crimes, the order said, “If any such incidences are noticed, then the parents, public, students must be in a position to immediately register a complaint in a Toll Free Telephone Number, which is to be provided by the Education Department of the State.” The judgment also added that immediate inquiry must happen within 24 hours in the event of receiving such complaints.

Directing the government of Tamil Nadu to set up the toll-free number within eight weeks from the date of the order, the court said that the same has to be displayed in schools. “The 1st respondent (Government of Tamil nadu) is directed to display the said Toll Free Telephone Numbers and the details of the authorities in the Notice Board of all the Schools, Educational institutions across the State of Tamil Nadu in Bold Letters in a visible place, which would be accessible to the parents, students and the public in general,” read the order.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.