Is it proper to allow school students to dance for ‘kuthu’ songs in cultural events, asks Madras High Court judge

Justice R.M.T. Teekaa Raman leaves it to the conscience of the school authorities to decide the propriety behind playing such songs in events involving schoolchildren

Updated - October 01, 2023 04:04 pm IST

Published - October 01, 2023 04:03 pm IST - CHENNAI

Image for representation purpose only.

Image for representation purpose only.

Questioning the propriety behind allowing school students to dance for ‘kuthu’ songs in cultural events conducted within the school premises or in other places, a Madras High Court judge has left it to the conscience of the school authorities to decide whether it is proper to play such songs in such events.

Justice R.M.T. Teekaa Raman made the observation while granting anticipatory bail to four college students who were part of a 13-member gang that ransacked a school hostel following a dispute between Class X and Class XII students over playing of Kuthu songs during Social Service Guild Yercaud (SSGY) retreat event.

Imposing a series of conditions for the grant of anticipatory bail to the four college students, the judge directed the petitioners to first appear before the Headmaster of Montford Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School at Yercaud and execute a bond for a sum of ₹1,000 each to the satisfaction of the headmaster.

The petitioners were also directed to clean the classrooms of the school, at the rate of four classrooms per day per petitioner, for a week and it was made clear that they should clean the entire class room including the blackboard, benches and the floors. They were further directed to spend time in the school library after the cleaning work.

Justice Raman ordered that the four petitioners must prepare excerpts of at least four pages each from Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography ‘My Experiments with Truth’ besides writing about the educational schemes promoted by former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj and the dream and vision of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The articles penned by all the four petitioners must be handed over to the school principal who shall host them on the school website for a year after making sure that the petitioners had not indulged in any copy-paste work using Google. They were also ordered to pay ₹2,000 each to the Montford School on or before October 10.

Additional Public Prosecutor Leonard Arul Joseph Selvam brought it to the notice of the court that according to a complaint received from the school hostel warden Rev. Bro M. Arockiasamy on August 7 this year, the students of his school had participated with students of other schools in the SSGY retreat event on August 6, 2023.

During the event, there was a dispute between the Class X and Class XII students of Montford School with respect to whose song should be played first. It led to a scuffle, but the teachers managed to pacify the students and bring them back to school. However, on the same day, the Class XII students went to the Class X hostel and picked up a quarrel.

On knowing this, the principal complained to the parents of the erring students. One of the erring Class X students was taken home by his cousin who returned back with a gang of 12 youngsters, barged into the school campus after attacking the watchman and assaulted some students besides ransacking the Class XII classrooms on August 7.

The assailants pushed down the benches, broke the glass panes of the classroom windows and abused the school teachers and non teaching staff. One of the students suffered bleeding injuries on his head during the violence and he was immediately rushed to a nearby private hospital for treatment, the complainant said.

Hence, the Yercaud police had booked all 13 assailants under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with deadly weapons), 447 (criminal trespass), 294(b) (uttering obscene words) and 324 (causing hurt using deadly weapons) of Indian Penal Code apart from Section 3(2) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.

The APP also produced a CCTV footage of the entire violent incident that took place in the presence of the girl students as well as women faculty members and non teaching staff of the school. The judge watched the footage played on the mobile phone of the APP before deciding to grant conditional bail to the petitioners.

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