A Case in Point

Rouvanjit Rawla, a class VIII student of La Martiniere, Kolkata, hanged himself at his home on February 12, 2010. In June that year his father Ajay Rawla registered an FIR against Sunirmal Chakravarthi, School Principal and teachers Lionel Jude Gunnion, David Royan and Partha Dutta, alleging that the boy committed suicide after being caned in school. The principal and teachers were arrested on October 4, 2010. Chakravarthi admitted that Rouvanjit was caned for misbehaving in school but denied that it had any bearing with the boy's suicide. It was only in September 2012 that the principal and teachers of La Martiniere were acquitted of all charges in the suicide case. Could this have been avoided? Perhaps, Yes! Could a pressure group of principals in Kolkata, have represented Chakravarthi's case any better and save him and his staff the ignominy of arrest and trial? Are you the next principal waiting to meet Chakravarthi's fate?

While the suicide was unfortunate, so were the arrests. This was not the first case, nor would this be the last. Schools and their principals will continue to face up to newer challenges. And these challenges could be anywhere; in classrooms, playgrounds, in schools, out of schools, in personal or social lives. They may come in forms and in the manner and time that you least expect them.

What remedy do we have for such principals and teachers, who in their normal course of functioning do infringe some law or rule. Should each one of them be subjected to such insult? Could they come together and fight such injustice? Can they meet together and debate the policies that govern their functioning and performance? Can they explore career advancement and professional development?