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Submitted by Gayatri Kharate

Synopsis

I. Introduction

II. Definition

III. Legal framework in India

IV. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986

V. Amendments to the Act

V. Case Laws

VI. Opinion

VII. Bibliography

I.Introduction

India has highest rate of child labour in the world, despite the Indian legislature having passed many states and central legislations to eradicate child labour stigma that is on India. Child labour means engaging children in economic activities. Child labour is said to be harmful as it hampers the mental and physical health of children. The causes for increase in child labour are poverty, illiteracy , socio-economic conditions etc.

II.Definition

The International Labour Organization defines Child Labour as, " Work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and that is harmful to their mental and physical development ".

III.Legal framework in India

The law of the land which is the Indian Constitution also talks about the child rights and child labour. It provides that
1) Article 21A provides free and compulsory education to children between 6 to 14 years of age.
2) Article 24 prohibits employment of children in factories below age of 14 years.
3) Article 39(e) provides that children of tender age are not abused or force to enter avocations not suited for their age & strength.
4) Article 39(f) provides for giving opportunities and facilities to children to develop in healthy manner.
5) Article 45 provides for the early childhood care and education for all children till age of 6 years
6) Article 47 directs State to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of children and people.

Other legislations
1) Factories Act of 1948 : The Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory.
2) The Mines Act of 1952 : The Act prohibits the employment of children below age of 18 years in a mine.
3) The Motor Transport Workers Act of 1961 : No child shall be required to work in any capacity in any motor transport undertaking.
4) The Apprentice Act of 1961 : A person shall not be qualified as apprentice if he is not less than 14 years of age.
5) The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act 2000 : The Act says that it is a crime to procure or employ a child in any hazardous employment or in a bondage.

IV.The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986

This Act came into existence by repealing the Employment of Children Act of 1938. The Act prohibits the engagement of children in certain types of occupations and regulates the condition of work of children in other occupations. The Act does not allow employment of children age of 14 yrs in occupations like automobile workshops, bidi making, handloom and power loom, carpet industry, mines and domestic work. The Act wants to bring uniformity in the definition of child in related laws, lay down punishment for violators which will be deterent in nature. The Act defines child as a person who has not completed 14 yrs of age or such age as may be specified in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education 2009.

V.Amendments to the Act

The Act is amended and now it is known as The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986. This amendment bill was brought in 2012 and has been given effect to it from 2016.
1) It prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age in all occupations mentioned in the schedule to the Act except family work or enterprises but only after school hours and in vacations.
2) It permits working in audio-visual industries including advertisements,drama and films.
3) It mentions about adolescent which means a person between 14 to 18 years of age. It doesn't even permit employment of adolescents in hazardous occupations as specified(mines, hazardous processes and inflammable substance).
4) It makes offences under this Act cognizable. The punishment is now increased and includes penalty for employing adolescents in hazardous occupation. For adolescents employment in hazardous occupation is fine of Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 50,000 and imprisonment between 6 months and 2 years or both. For child employment in hazardous occupation it is Rs.20,000 to Rs. 50,000 and imprisonment between 6 months and 2 years or both. It is same for both child and adolescent.
5) It says that the central government may add or omit any hazardous occupation from the list included in the amendment.
6) It mentions creation of Rehabilitation Fund for rehabilitation of children affected by these acts.
7) It gives the power to the government to have periodic visits and inspection of places at which employment of children and adolescent is prohibited.
8) The government may confer certain powers on a District Magistrate to make sure provisions of this law are carried out properly and the law is not violated.

V.Case Laws

1) M.C.Mehta Vs. State of Tamil Nadu

This case purely dealt with child labour. Children were employed in matchbox industries at place called Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. The court held that children not to be employed in hazardous occupations in factories which are manufacturing fireworks and matchboxes but they can work in packaging process in an area which is away from the manufacturing place. The children's quality of life should be improved and should be given good quality of education which must also help them in future as means of earning and living a dignified life.

2) In Hydro Project case,

it was held by the Supreme Court that construction is a hazardous work and employing children in it amounts to employment of children in hazardous activity therefore child below 14 years of age not to be employed to work on construction sites as the Article 24 of the Indian Constitution prohibits it.

VI.Bibliography

1) Law Relating to Woman and Children by Mamta Rao, Fourth Edition

Submitted by Gayatri Kharate

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