By JIT Mukherjii
Kolkata, June 14th: An internal probe by the governing council of the board that manages La Martiniere School for Boys found that principal Sunirmal Chakarvarthy had caned Rouvanjit Rawla a few days before his suicide in violation of the school’s own rules. The probe report was never submitted before the board. And Chakarvarthy got off with a mere reprimand.
Point No 4 of the report says: “Caning of Rouvanjit and his two classmates by the principal constitutes an act of misconduct under Clause 15 (ii) of the Staff Service Rules & Regulations of La Martiniere Schools, Kolkata, by which the principal is governed, vis, ‘inflicting corporal punishment on a student’.”
The report has been handed to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which is probing Rouvanjit’s suicide. His father Ajay Rawla has filed an FIR that corporal punishment at school pushed the boy to suicide.
However, the school’s internal probe carried out in February-March, all but absolved Chakravarthy of Rouvanjit’s death, finding no co-relation between the caning and the suicide.
CISCE chairman Neil O’Brien, who was on the La Martiniere board during the episode but was ousted along with corporate bigwig K S David for demanding action against those guilty of corporal punishment, said the report was never presented before the board by Dhar.
“At the board meeting on March 18, Dhar was asked to submit the report with back-up statements to substantiate the findings. This was never done. What has been submitted to the NCPCR is a half-baked report. I do not know if it was lack of intent to act against those guilty of corporal punishment that prevented it,” he said.
In its conclusion, the report states: “The actions of principal, vice-principal and teachers, who were examined, cannot be said to be the cause behind Rouvanjit’s death, either directly or indirectly. They have discharged their duties, without compromising on discipline, which is one of the basic requirements of the school.”