Parents too guilty for underage children’s crimes: Minister

June 17th, 2008 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Parents of underage children who break the law - by driving vehicles, for example - will be punished too, if Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury has her way. “We will write to the road transport ministry to take stringent action against parents of underage children, who break the law,” Chowdhury said here while inaugurating a facilitation centre of the women and child development ministry Tuesday.

The facilitation centre will provide information about various schemes and programmes of the ministry.

Chowdhury was reacting to the accident that occurred over the weekend on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. While 18-year-old Tapan Malik, who was allegedly driving, miraculously survived, his friends Siddharth, Karan and Divanshu, all aged 16, died when their car hit a road divider. They all were drunk and had no driving licence either.

Chowdhury said children have no idea about the risk involved when they are driving.

“The children are not at fault. The parents should be responsible enough not to allow an underage child to drive. This is the reason they are not allowed to vote and drink. The father’s licence should be cancelled… only then will there be a check (against such crimes),” she added.

She also said the road transport ministry should amend the law, if required, and bring the parents within the ambit of the legislation.

On the use of mobile phones in schools, she said it should not be allowed at all.

“The HRD (human resource development) ministry should write to schools about banning the use of mobile phones. I am orthodox on such matters. The children have no business using mobile phones,” the minister said.

“There are other security measures that can ensure the safety of a child,” she said referring to parents keeping a tab on the children through the cell phones.

She said the use of mobile phones by pregnant women should also be discouraged in the light of recent studies that have pointed to their harmful effect.

“I am not against technology and experts can decide on the quantum of risk involved in using mobile phones during pregnancy. I believe there should be self-regulation,” she added.

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