Child Labour and its Issues
Children have the right to be protected from all deceitful and endangered situations, but that is possible only if you make yourself aware of the real problems and risks that children face, then we can avail the remedies, laws and policies to change the situation in the best interest of children. A child may need legal help and protection. Outlast legal action when a child needs it the most is a common mistake all of us often tend to make. It plays a vital role in accrediting women and in the protection of children from exploitative labour as well as sexual exploitation. An individual often being educated and with an active mind has the capacity to saunter freely and widely and can exercise human rights and consider the value of human existence. A country like India is considered a home for the highest number of children in the world. The child who lives in rural areas is getting free and compulsory education, which seems to be very important during this stage of their life.
Legal Definition of Child
The term Child is not defined in the Indian Constitution, but According to Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, a “child means each and every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, the majority is attained earlier.” There is numerous legislation in India that defines the term ˜Child depending upon the purpose.”
- Under the Indian Majority Act,1875 the age of majority is 18 years & in case of a minor for whose person & property a guardian is appointed or whose property is under the supervision of the Court of Wards the age of majority 21 years.
- Under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulations) Act, 1986, a child means a person who has not completed his 14 years of age.
- Under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1926, a child means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty-one years of age and, if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age.
- Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000, â Juvenile means a person who has not completed the eighteenth year of age.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child incorporates children’s civil and political rights social, economic and cultural rights & protection rights The children are one of the greatest gifts of God to man, our most precious and important assets. The welfare and development of any child depend largely on health and well being. It has been said who hold eagerness of the children holds the nation.
Major Child Issues in India
- Child marriage
- Child labour
- Gender inequality
- Child trafficking
- Girl Child
The fabricator of our Constitution was well known for the fact the development of the nation can be achieved by the development of the children of the nation & it is necessary to protect the children from harassment or exploitation.
Constitution of India
Article 14: Equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws.
Article 15: Right against discrimination.
Article 21: No person shall be underprivileged of his life or personal liberty.
Article 21A: State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the State may determine.
Article 23 Right to being protected from peddling & forced into bonded labour.
Article 24: No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any type of hazardous work.
Article 29 Right of minorities for the protection of their interest.
Article 45: State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of 6 years.
In the case of M.C. Mehta Vs. State of Tamil Nadu and Others the Honorable Apex Court issued a critical ruling that the Constitution of India requires the state to endeavour to provide free, compulsory education for children. The Court found that children under the age of 14, should not be engaged in any type of hazardous employment, and ordered the government to establish & maintain a child labour rehabilitation welfare fund and employers who violated these child labour laws would be required to make a deposit into the fund.
In another case of Labourers Working on Salal Hydro-Project vs State of Jammu & Kashmir Justice P.N. Bhagwati said that Same Construction works are hazardous, so employment of child below the age of 14 years in construction works in violation of Article 24.
The employment of Children Act,1938
Any child who has not completed 15 years of age and are employed in any occupation connected with the transport of passengers, goods by railways, or a port authority within the limit of a port. Limited protection to the children who are within the age of 15 to17 years. This protection is not applicable to children who are employed as either novitiate or are receiving vocational training.
The Factories Act, 1948
This act prohibits the employment of children below 14 years of age in the factory. The factory covers the establishment, which employs 10 or more workers with the aid of power or 20 or more workers without the aid of power. Persons who are between the age of 14 and 15 years, they can be employed under following restrictions provided under Section 68, 69 and 71 of the Act:
- The certifying Surgeon should follow the procedure laid down in Section 69.
- They should not work at night i.e., 12 consecutive hours including the period from 10 PM to 6 AM.
The Mines Act, 1952
The wriggle groom of this act is wide and it applies to exhumation where an operation for the purpose of searching for or obtaining minerals has been or is carried out. It not only prohibits the employment of any child but even the presence of a child in any part of mine which is below ground or in any open cast working in which mining operation is carried on. Pubescent who have completed their 16 years of age are allowed to work only if he has a medical certificate of fitness for work, and this fitness certificate is valid only for 12 months.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
The main objectives of this act are:
- Embargoing the employment of children.
- Laying down procedures to decide abetment to the schedule of banned occupation or processes.
- Regulating the conditions of work of children in employment where they are not prohibited from working.
- Laying down enhanced penalties for the employment of children in violation of the provisions of this Act and other Acts which disallow the employment of children.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2000
This Act deals with the law relating to juveniles in conflict with law or children in need of care & protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by victual to their development needs & by adopting a child-friendly approach in the adjudication & disposition of matters in the best interest of children & for their ultimate redemption through various institutions established under the Act.
In the case of Gaurav Jain vs. Union of India Hon’ble Apex Court to rehabilitate children and child prostitutes after conducting an in-depth study of the matter. To boot, juvenile homes should be used for rehabilitating child prostitutes.
Right to Education Act, 2009
Free & compulsory education to all children of India from the age group of 6 to 14 years. No child shall be held back, drum out or required to pass a board examination until the completion of rudimentary education. If a child above 6 years of age has not been admitted to any school or could not complete his/her plain sailing education, then he/she shall be admitted to a class as appropriate to his/her age. However, if a case may be where a child is directly admitted in the class appropriate to his/her age, and they have the right to receive special training within such time limits as may be prescribed.
Policies of the Government regarding Children
The Government of India has made numerous policy regarding the physical, mental & social development of the children of the country.
The Government has also made many policies on the health & education of children, and there are some of the important policies of the Government regarding children:
National Policy for Children 1974- India is one of the few countries in the world which have made a written policy for children. This policy declares that children are considered the supreme asset of the nation. The following are some of the facets of the policy:
- All the children shall be covered under a comprehensive health programme.
- To provide non-formal education.
- Special attention to be taken towards the physically challenged, mentally retarded or hindered children.
- All children shall be corroborating equality of opportunity.
National Policy on Education 1986– This policy gave the highest importance to Universal Primary Education. It also gave some importance to early childhood care & education. It also emphasised the need for large-scale investment in the development of The Rights Of Children in India children through Government & voluntary organizations.
National Policy on Child Labour 1987– The National Policy on Child Labour is a lodestar whack in the progressive elimination of child labour in India. The policy helm in actions in the field of education, health, nutrition, integrated child development & employment. It was divided into 3 following heads:
- the Legislative Plan.
- Focusing on general programmes for benefiting child labour.
- Project-based plan of action in areas of high concentration of child labour engaged in wage or quasi-wage employment.
National Health Policy 2002– The 1st policy on health aimed at achieving health for all by the year 2000 and the 2nd policy on the health of 2002 anticipate giving priority to school health problems which sight at health education & regular health check-ups at schools. The principal feature of this policy was to prevent communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS & to provide for universal immunization of children against all major curable disease.
Children constitute the nation valuable human resources. The future of our nation depends on how its children grow and develop. So, it is the duty of society to look after every child with a view to persuading the full development of its personality. Children are the future superintended and torcher bearers of the Society. Children, owing to their developing mind are unguarded to the environment they are in. It is of paramount importance that such an environment is made suitable for their growth and development, regardless of whether such child is in conflict with the law or with due care and protection of the law. No nation can burgeon if children of such nation suffer, therefore India with the help of various international, national as well as state mechanisms to secure the rights of the children as has been discussed above.
Written By- Shambhavi, Banasthali University
- D Basu “Introduction to Constitution of India” 19th Edition
- Pandey J.N “Constitution of India” 17th Edition
- Mishra S.N “Industrial &labour Laws” 11th Edition
Bare Acts Referred
- The Constitution of India
- Labour &Industrial laws