NA passes bill to ban corporal punishment of children in the capital

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The National Assembly passed a bill on Tuesday banning corporal punishment in Islamabad, setting out penalties for persons physically punishing children, responding to efforts by child rights’ groups.

The Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill bans all forms of corporal punishment at the workplace, in educational institutions including formal, informal, and religious, in child care institutions including foster care, rehabilitation centers and any other alternative care settings.

The law will now penalize teachers for assault and hurt done to children, regardless of their intention, cancelling out the earlier pointers of Article 89 of the Penal Code which had allowed teachers and guardians to administer physical punishment “for the benefit” of the child. The earlier law stated that

“Nothing which is done in good faith for the benefit of a person under twelve years of age, or of unsound mind by or by consent, either express or implied, of the guardian or other person having lawful charge of that person, is an offence by reason of any harm which it may cause, or be intended by the doer to cause or be known by the doer to be likely to cause to that person.…”

These provisions have now been amended/repealed to make sure that no law can be used to provide a defense for the use of physical or corporal punishment on children, prohibiting all corporal punishment  “however light”, by parents and all persons with authority over children.