Child labour involves forcing children under the age of 14 to work as adults and denying them access to school and health care, basically limiting their fundamental right to education and spoiling their future. This situation arises in families due to lack of poverty and unemployment in the family, therefore the minors of the family, labour in industries to support their family’s needs and earn bread for a day. This can lead to enslavement as well as sexual or economic exploitation. In India, the major reasons for child labour are social inequity, lack of education, and poverty.
Under the Indian Constitution, all the children of India have the right to education. Many children and citizens of India are unaware of such rights, and the government is striving to provide free education to children in order to abolish child labour. Many constitutional provisions have been made in accordance with this. Despite this, many youngsters are exploited in hazardous working settings.
The Industrial Revolution brought a rise in the number of factories and mines and created a huge demand for workers, mostly in places like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. These are the main states in India where child labour is still present to date. This is where over half of the country’s total child labour population works.
The children are forced to work in a variety of factories such as brick kilns, carpet weaving, garment making, domestic service, food and tea stalls, agriculture, fireworks, fisheries, and mining so that they could be paid less, and easily attend to task in tight spaces because of their smaller size. Also, they are likely to organize and strike against their pitiable working conditions.
Acts to control Child Labour
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986:
The Act’s aim is to abolish all forms of child abuse in the workplace and to prohibit the employment of children under the age of 14 in any type of dangerous work. The Act prohibits the hiring of minors in specified occupations.
Section 14 of the Act states that hiring any kid below the age of 14 violates the act. The penalty is imprisonment for not less than 3 months and up to 1 year, or a fine of not less than Rs. 10,000/- and up to Rs. 20,000/- or both. If a person commits the offense of the similar type for a second time then the penalty is imprisonment for not less than 6 months and up to 2 year.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009:
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, states that every child has a right to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school that meets certain essential norms. This Act also required that 25% of places in every private school be reserved for students from underprivileged groups and children with physical disabilities.
Under Section 17 of the Act, No child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act of 2000:
The most significant consequence of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 was that it changed the age threshold for the legal definition of a child from 14 to 18 years. There were several more beneficial amendments concerning child marriage and immoral trafficking.
Under Section 77 of the Act, for giving any intoxicating liquor, narcotic drug, tobacco product, or psychotropic substance to any child, except on the order of a duly qualified medical practitioner, is punishable by rigorous imprisonment for a term of up to seven years and a fine of up to one lakh rupees.
The Factories Act of 1948:
According to this Act, no young person below 14 years shall be permitted to clean, lubricate, or adjust any portion of a machine that would expose the young person to the danger of damage from any moving part of that machine or any nearby machinery.
The Mines Act of 1952:
This Act forbids the employment of children in mines under the age of 18. Mining is one of the most dangerous industries that have resulted in many serious accidents claiming the lives of children in the past. Employment here is absolutely prohibited for kids.
Aid for child labour
If any person comes across an instance of child labour in their neighborhood, then they should call the police at 100 or the Child Helpline at 1098, or contact the NGOs/CBOs of the respective area right away. One can also notify these authorities either directly or through the online Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS Portal) (http://pgportal.gov.in)
Steps taken by organizations to control child labour:
United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
It collaborates with governments and Not-for Profit organisations (NPO) to provide the policy framework required to stop child labour. It also assists the state governments in integrating programmes to reduce child labour r. It also collaborates with businesses to examine supply chains and develop long-term solutions to corporate practices that contribute to control child labour. UNICEF works with families and assists them with the termination of bonded or debt labour. UNICEF assists the state governments in integrating programmes to reduce child labour. They assist communities in altering their cultural acceptance of child labour, while providing families with alternative income, access to preschools, excellent education, and protective services.
The Indian Government
SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN was founded in 2001 to educate poor and working-class children throughout all states. Non-formal education and vocational training are provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The establishment of ANGANWADIES is also a significant step forward by the government in terms of children’s welfare and their physical, mental, and scholastic development.
Case laws relating to child labour.
Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu
The Supreme Court instructed the government to abolish child labour, including conducting surveys to identify working children, securing the withdrawal of children working in dangerous businesses, and insuring their education in proper institutions.
Chhota Bhai Munnu Bhai & Co V. State of U.P.
The Supreme Court had itself indicated that the Inspector must verify that children’s working hours and that they are limited to four to six hours per day and that they receive at least two hours of education each day, and that the employer bears the entire cost of education.
Child labour is a reality of life for children, and it is a serious issue that affects all of us. . Every citizen has a responsibility to help put an end to child labour, It is not only the government’s role to provide a solution. The Government should take the appropriate efforts to eliminate poverty by providing jobs to the parents of child laborers. . The government should provide the adequate amount needed to educate such underprivileged children.
- cases on child labour (indiankanoon.org)