Parental and Quasi- Parental Authority under Law of Torts

Meaning of Torts

Torts means a civil wrong. As we know that the law of torts is not codified in India. Law of torts originate from the England. Law of torts means the civil wrong, and the loss is both monetary and physical. But it is not important that the tort is always a civil wrong, it is also a criminal wrong like battery, assault, or defamation. In the law of torts the claimant have to suffer losses which is committed by the other party (act should be tortious act), which means the wrongful act. Battery and assault both comes under the civil and criminal ac. Tort is civil jurisdiction law and also known as the English law. This law mainly deals with the civil nature like day to day offences.

Parental Authority under Law of Torts

As we know ‘parental” word indicate parents. parent are very important for everyone because they give birth to the child, then guide them, educate the, etc. so like that in law they is always a need of the parental authority which sets the rules, regulation for the smooth functioning of the laws. Rules and regulations. Like parents give birth to the child, then they have certain rights on the child and some responsibilities towards the child like right to give education, right to determine the religion, right to custody, right to supervision etc.

Parental authority or rights

  1. Right to determine the religion – we know that there are 4 main religion in India, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and christens. There is the rights and the duties of the parent to determine the religion of the child. If he /she born in Hindu family, then he is consider to be the Hindu and if he/she born in Muslim family, then he/she is consider to be Muslim. It is the absolute right given to the parent.
  2. Right to custody –parent have absolute right to have custody of their children. They do all the necessary things for their children. There are different types of custody, physical custody and the legal custody. Parents have both the custody legal custody and physical custody.
  3. Right to education-`education is one of the basic necessities for human being, so every parent provide the basic education to their children. Education is very important for the livelihood. Without education one can’t survive in this world. Even government of India take various steps to promote the education in schools. Free education to the girls are provide in the government schools and there is reserves seats for the one child in every school weather private or government.
  4. Right to supervision- if parents do their duties towards their children then they have some rights towards their children. One of them are right to supervision which means that , they can supervise their children activities like their children can’t  involve in any kind of activities which is illegal or wrongful act. If they are involve in any kind of activities like this, they take measure steps for their children and for the betterment of the child.
  5. Right to control-this right is very important for the welfare of the children. right to control means if they believe that their children are not safe or they are doing something which is not right, in that case they can control their child’s life but not all the time they can control their children life because they have their own privacy and if they are attaining the age of 18 years then they have their person life and now they are legal adult and attain majority. They now take their own decision.
  6. Right to reasonable chastisement-they chastise their child because parents always love their children, they respect their children. Where there is love there is always a chastisement involve. Some relations are from heart, faith and have respect also. Respect plays a major role in the chastisement.
  7. Right to protection and health care- as we all know the importance of the health now in the COVID- 19 situation. Everyone life is equal important. It is the responsibility of the parents to protect their children’s life by providing proper and health food, nutrition and vitamins also.  Provide proper medical facilities and take care of their children. Our country is also facing this kind of situation now a days, COVID -19 situation is worst day by day and people are die due to oxygen crisis. So we can say that health is very important for the human beings and everything that human do or earn is for the health or to fulfil their stomach.

Quasi- Parental Authority under Law of Torts

Quasi – parental come from the Latin word “loco parentis” means ‘in the place of parents’. Quasi parental authority have less rights then the parental authority. Quasi parental authority also have an option to delegate their responsibilities with the other person. Other person consist of the schools, local guardian or relatives, who can take care of their children.  Babysitter also acts as a quasi -parental authority for some specified time period.

 The main important point in this both parental and quasi- parental authority is that both have the legal authority of their children. In parental authority there is no delegation of the rights and the duties but in the quasi authority there is some delegation of the   duties and the rights to other person or authority.  Let’s take an example- parents give some authority to school teachers, principle or tuition master, for the welfare of the children. So they can study properly and achieve their goals in future. This is for the betterment of the child. Nanni or babysitter also act as a quasi- parental authority. Quasi parent is also important for the student to leans the social norms and how to live in the society. At the end, human has to do things for the society.

In Relevance with The Law of Torts

As we already discuss, about the parental and quasi parental rights and duties. These authorities are provided to the parents for the safety of the student but it is not right to say that these rights can be used as the defence in any kind of criminal offences. In short we can say that in case of battery or assault, there is no defence to be given to the children. As the rights and duties of the parental or quasi parental authority on the one hand and the committing of the crime on the other hand. Any kind of the defence or favour can’t be given to the children or any other person involve in these activities. If he/she commit any crime of offence which is illegal, then he / she can be liable under the law of torts.

 Case Study: R.C. Thampan and Ors. vs The Principal, Medical College

In this case, one student (The petitioner) involve in the ragging of the junior students. As we know that the ragging is offence under the law. The principal of the Medical College take action against the Thampa, and suspend him from the college because that is against the protocol of the college, also effect the reputation of the college. “He also said: “It seems to me that the authority to administer moderate and reasonable-corporal punishment, which any parent who sends a child to school is presumed to give to the authorities of the school, extends to the mistress occupying the position which the defendant occupied in this school”.  The incidents are happened in the campus and the hostel areas. The written statement of the juniors who have been the victim of the ragging. Kept as an evidence for the case. The petitioner also beat the students, ill- treatment, or mentally and physically harm the students. The management committee record the evidence of the victims and personally investigate the matter because this will effect the reputation pf the college. Later, the petitioner threatened the juniors, to give their statement back or not to tell the truth otherwise, they will kill them and many of the student’s withdrawal from the statement or evidence. In this case, later it was also came up that, the principal of the medical college not having the jurisdiction to suspend the students or nay of the committee.

Analysis On The Case

According to me, punishment should be given to the student because, the school or college is a quasi- parental authority, and they have rights to guide the student. Their duty is to monitor the students that they are not doing wrong thing.  Schools and the colleges comes under the quasi- parental authority. Ragging is illegal according to the law of India, it effect the mental and physical health of the student, and punishments for ragging is also define in the law. Punishment is imprisonment extent to two years and the fine of Rs. 10,000 define under the TAMIL NADU PROHIBITION OF RAGGING ACT, 1997. All the university or school or college which are regulated under the university grant commission, sign the anti – ragging form or affidavit at the time of the admission of the student. My comment on this case is that, this is not right to harasses , molest, mentally and physically abuse the students or juniors , or blackmailing them and the parents who motivate their children to do these act , give punishment to them it is believed that there is a trend  of ragging in the medical college. Senior and junior interaction does not considered as ragging. They is also fine of RS. 25,000 30,000 impose on the students and college can suspend their student from college for shorter period of time.

Under law of torts, punishment should be given for the criminal matter, and the matters related to the civil nature. Them monetary compensation is given and this case is of criminal nature, so it is very important for every one weather parents , students or committee ,what is right for the student or what is wrong for them. How they can guide them and help them or motivate them to achieve their goals. Parental authority and the quasi parental authority helps in the law of torts.

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Author Details: Dharmika (Amity University Noida)

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