Top court strikes down France’s anti-smacking law

 28 Jan 2017 - 2:38


Paris: A French law condemning smacking of children has been struck down by Constitutional Council, dismaying opponents of a practice for which France has been rapped by the UN.
The Constitutional Council, which vets legislation, yesterday rejected on technical grounds a law that asked parents to swear off hitting their children.
Ruling on a challenge brought by a group of conservative senators, the court said the article, which was inserted into a law on equality and citizenship adopted by parliament in December, had “no connection” to original bill and therefore violated parliamentary rules.
The article had not constituted an actual ban on smacking and did not provide for any punishment of “la fessée” --  a practice that still has widespread support in France, to the dismay of many of its European neighbours.
The article only expanded definition of parental authority in Civil Code to include rejecting “all cruel, degrading and humiliating treatment, including all recourse to corporal violence”.
The rule, which was welcomed by children’s rights groups, was intended to be read out to couples when taking their wedding vows.
Reacting to the decision, Laurence Rossignol, minister for families, children and women’s rights, expressed “great disappointment”.
Rossignol said yesterday she was particularly “shocked” that senators from the main right-wing opposition party, the Republicans, had gone to the Constitutional Council to have it overturned.