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Kerala HC upholds school students’ suspension for reportedly consensual hug

The Kerala High Court has upheld a Thiruvananthapuram school’s decision to suspend two Class XII students — a boy and a girl — on charges of public display of affection by hugging during a school festival. The bench of Justice Shaji P Chaly quashed the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ order asking St Thomas Central School, a CBSE school in the state capital, to take back the two suspended students. The school management, Mar Thoma Church, had moved the court against the child rights panel. [...]

According to the school management, the boy hugged the girl in front of other students during an arts festival held in the school on August 21 this year —- the boy said it was a congratulatory hug after her impressive singing at the festival. Both apologised to the vice-principal for this public display of affection.

reported Shaju Philip in The Indian Express.

In his order, Justice Chaly observed, “I find that various photographs were posted on Instagram in various compromising positions, and if it had the effect of publicity, the issue hampers the reputation of the school.” The court also said that the school management’s action was not illegal or unfair since it was taken in order to maintain the institution’s reputation.