A boy and a girl were suspended in Kerala for hugging! As per the St Thomas Central School’s management in Thiruvananthapuram, a boy hugged a girl in front of other students on August 21 this year. He hugged the girl during an arts festival held in the school. The boy called the hug ‘congratulatory’ after the girl sang a song brilliantly at the festival. Both had apologised to the vice-principal for their public display of affection.
Post the incident, pictures of the boy and girl appeared on social media. The school said that the photos were posted from the boy’s account. As a disciplinary measure, both boy and girl were placed under suspension. However, both were allowed to give the semester examination in September.
Afterwards, the boy gave a petition to the child rights commission asking the school’s principal to admit him back. The commission invoked the power under relevant sections of CrPC. The school challenged the Commission in court. And on December 12, the Kerala High Court upheld the decision to suspend two Class XII students. Justice Shaji P Chaly’s bench asked the Kerala State Commission to reverse its order asking the school to take back the two suspended students.
On December 12, the court said the child rights panel has the power to only recommend to the government for grant of such relief to the victim. It observed that a school principal is the institution’s guardian, vested with powers to take action necessary to maintain discipline and morality in the school. The child rights commission cannot interfere there, the court said.
In court, the boy argued that it was a congratulatory hug. He contended that the school authorities were not permitted to access his Instagram account, and were thus guilty of hacking into his account and using it to blackmail him and tarnish his image in school.
Meanwhile, in a big move, the LDF government in Kerala decided to increase the legal age of drinking from 21 to 23. The state government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will bring an ordinance and make necessary amendments in the Abkari Act. It has been learned that during Assembly polls campaign, Left Democratic Front (LDF) had promised about raising the age limit for consumption of liquor. The cabinet decision will be sent to Law Department. Kerala presently has around 815 beer and wine parlors and 922 toddy shops.