The integral importance of child laws
Children are the build blocks of the nation, the tomorrow of the world they are the requisite to nation building. In the eyes of law primarily they are viewed as vulnerable defenseless units and therefore require extra-legal padding. In the view of the same there exist a multitude of laws all in place to further the cause of child rights. The article delves in to a deep scrutinization of child laws prevalent in our nation.
Child security is viewed as one of the primary obligations of the public authority just as the general public and considering the difficulties and issues looked by the children. There have been numerous cases of rape, Child marriage, starvation and malnourishment, attacks, Child battering, prostitution rackets, and Child labor which by implication features our general public’s own inability and rampant vilification existing in our society.
‘Child’: as defined by law:
- Under the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulations) Act, 1986, Child by definition indicates an individual who has not finished their fourteenth year.
- Under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1926, the definition in terms of age is contingent on their gender. For women it is set at 18 years of age on the other hand for men it happens to be 21 years of age.
- Under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000, Juvenile or Child implies an individual who has not finished eighteenth years of age.
Constitution of India, 1950: a glimpse of the protective framework
The constituent assembly has highlighted the values of humanity throughout and also the vision of a peaceful and developed nation. We can all agree that a key factor in the creation of the same is protection of children and constant nurturing and guidance. The constitution, therefore, has several provisions dedicated towards the cause some of them are listed below:
- Article 21A: The article upholds the integral importance of education by guaranteeing free and compulsory education to all children alike. The age limit for the same has been capped at 14 years, this framework exists to battle financial barriers as well as stereotypes keeping children away from education at large.
- Article 24: It exists to denounce the evil of child labor prevalent in the society. The status quo as well history marks the problem of employing young children in sectors away from education. In the wake of the same article 24 provides that no child shall be employed in any sort of hazardous industry below the age of 14 years.
- Article 39(e) : The above-mentioned article falls under the ambit of directive principles of policy so enshrined in the constitution. It makes mentions of the imperative involvement of the state in order to prevent. the involvement of children in vocation that do not suit them. Basically, the article upholds the right of the children to bask in their innocence and focus on their individualistic development as opposed to the economy as a whole.
- Article 39(f) : The article endows on the state the moral obligation to provide children with the means to further their development. In a nutshell it talks about sheltering them from societal vices such as exploitation, trafficking and so on as well as creating opportunities dedicated towards their development.
- Article 45: The provision primarily highlights the states obligation of economically funding children below the age of six years. Funding here can be construed as providing basic nutrition and care necessary for healthy development.
- Fundamental Rights: Part III of the constitution categorically lists out a number of rights available to all citizens alike. The term citizen here also includes children and therefore they automatically possess the above mentioned rights. Some of the specific rights so endowed are given below.
- Article 14: Article 14 asserts the principle of equality by guaranteeing equality before law to all humans alike. The article enshrines principles of natural justice as well as the basic meaning of humanity.
- Article 15: Discrimination on the basis of a multitude of criterions be it creed, gender, caste and so on is strictly prohibited. India is an apparent amalgamation of several section this article ensures an equal status for all of them.
- Article 21: This article includes several rights such as the right to life, privacy and also livelihood. Judiciary has construed it in a liberal manner in order to broaden the scope of the same. In the case of justice K.S. Puttasway V. Union of India, Article 21 was expanded to include privacy as one of the basic inherent rights vesting with all citizens.
- Article 23: Right to being shielded from being dealt and constrained into fortified work.
- Article 29: Right of minorities for assurance of their inclinations.
- Article 46: Right of more fragile areas of individuals to be shielded from social foul play and all types of abuse.
- Article 47: Right to sustenance and way of life and improved general wellbeing.
The Act was enacted during pre-independence era but still continues to be in force. Object of the Act is eradicating the evils arising from prevalent concept of child labor.
An agreement to pledge the labor of children below 15 years by a parent or guardian of a child in return for any benefit is void., The act sought to penalize the pledger and the pledgee. Pledgee is liable for a fine of rupees 200 and pledgor is liable for a fine up to rupees 50.
This is the most punctual unrepealed enactment on the resolution book controlling the work of under matured people in particular sorts of occupation. It gives: No Child who has not finished 15 years old can be utilized in any occupation associated with transport of travelers, products or mail by railroads, or a port authority inside the constraint of a port. Restricted insurance to the Child who are inside 15-17 years old. This insurance isn’t pertinent to kids who are utilized as either students or are getting professional preparing.
The main Welfare Legislation passed by the Britishers was Factories Act,1881. The execution of the Act was limited. The Act was again revised in 1948 and the premise of the same is centric to prohibition of children under the age of 14 years old in factory. Production line covers the foundation, which utilizes at least 10 laborers with the guide of intensity or at least 20 specialists without the guide of power. People who are between the 14 and 15 years, they can be utilized under after limitations gave under Section 68, 69 and 71 of the Act.
Such people ought to have testament of wellness gave by a Surgeon and should convey a symbolic giving a reference to such certificate. The affirming Surgeon ought to follow the strategy set down in Section 69. They ought not work around evening time for example 12 successive hours including the period from 22:00 to 6:00. The act therefore mandates utilization of the work force and the necessary measures that must be kept in mind while carrying out industrial work.
The extent of Mines Act is quite limited. It Applies to unearthing where activity to look for or acquiring minerals through excavation, digging or even working deep underground takes place. The concerned act not just restricts the work of any Child however even presence of a Child in any mine which is subterranean or in any open cast working in which mining activity is conveyed on. Adolescent who has finished the age of sixteen years is permitted to work just on the off chance that he has a clinical testament of readiness for work. Certificate is substantial for a year in particular. This therefore emphasizes on the apparent safety standard that one must maintain while employing children through medical assurance and also emphasizes the need to keep away children from the apparent danger of dingy mines.
This Act revolves around the troublesome relation between adolescents and law. That is, it governs the scenarios where a child might end up on the wrong side of the law. It highlights the need for care and security, by accommodating appropriate consideration, assurance and treatment by obliging their advancement needs. The same is achieved through encouraging mediation and mien of issues to the greatest advantage of kids and for their definitive recovery through different foundations set up under the Act. The act therefore creates a separate reformative institution for children altogether and also governs the process of hearing, nature of punishment. The same exists as a separate mechanism in order to nurture them while reforming them simultaneously.
Free and compulsory education is considered to be one of the most basic and primitive right. Education is a tool for not only enabling individualistic change but also bringing about a change in the society as a whole. Under the umbrella of the act the people are bound to provide free and necessary training to all offspring of India falling in the 6 to 14 age group.
A child shall not be kept from climbing the ladder of education up till they have acquired the most basic rudimentary education the same shall not be subject to the scrutiny of board. If a Child above the age of 6 has not been conceded in school or couldn’t finish their rudimentary instruction, at that point the individual in question shall be admitted in a class suitable to their age.
The child in special cases to level the playing field as well as understand the complex demand of the grade in which they fall in, acquire special training. That is if a child is admitted in school directly in 3rd grade it becomes imperative to teach the kid the most basic of phenomenon such as the number system, alphabet and so on. Given further that a Child so admitted to rudimentary training will be qualified with the expectation of complimentary instruction till the finishing of rudimentary schooling even following 14 years.
Other than asserting the importance of education the act also ascertains the criterion of admission. It categorically lists out a number of documents necessary for the same as well as lists out the circumstances under which it is reasonable for the school to not admit a kid.
For the motivation behind admission to rudimentary instruction, the age of a Child will be resolved based on the birth testament gave as per the Provisions of Birth. Passing’s and Marriages Registration Act 1856 or based on such other archive as might be recommended. No Child will be denied affirmation in a school merely due to absence of age verification A Child who finishes rudimentary instruction will be granted a testament.
The act enlists the need to create a structure through maintaining a hospitable student teacher ratio in order to stimulate the cause of education to the maximum. Improvement in the nature of instruction is significant.
Object of the Act is to provide for the regulation and control of training of apprentices in trade and for matters connected therewith. Apprentice is a person who has acquired or is in the process of acquiring apprenticeship training in a designated trade in pursuance of contract of apprenticeship. No person is qualified for being engaged as an apprentice to undergo training unless they have completed the age of 14 years and satisfy the other standards of physical fitness and education as may be prescribed.
Therefore, the act enlists the requirement of age as well as certain skills in terms of physicality as well as craftsmanship which makes the training a suitable fit. If the apprentice is a minor their guardian is required to enter into a contract of apprenticeship with the employer and it shall be registered with Apprenticeship Advisor. It is necessary to shed legal light on the entire process through mandatory registration in order to create a sense of accountability.
The Act is an amalgamation of varying recommendations put forth by different suggestions made committees. The act was created due to incessant need for a uniform regulation addressing the grass root problem of child labor to accomplish this objective, parliament ordered the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
(CLPRA) which came into power on 23 December 1986. The purposes behind the enactment of Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 are:
- Restricting the work of Child for example the individuals who have not finished their fourteenth year, in indicated occupation and cycles.
- Setting down systems to conclude adjustments to the timetable of prohibited occupation or cycles.
- Controlling the states of work of kids in business where they are not denied from working.
- Setting down improved punishments for work of Child disregarding the arrangements of this Act and different Acts which preclude the work of kids.
The Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 1992
The act emphasises on the importance of nutritional of children. Therefore, it deals with regulation in relation to breastfeeding, mapping the trajectory of nutrition. The act also deals with counterfeit milk substances in circulation which can prove to be harmful for kids.
The act aims to protect children from sexual predators it prescribes serious punishments for people indulging child pornography, rape and harassment. Under the act relief in cases of such cases is sought under special courts away from the generic judicial hierarchy. The act defines the term child as well as several heinous offenses so listed. It looks into several other aspects such as barring media from disclosing the identity of the victim (Section 23), providing a speedy trial (Section 35), mechanism for rehabilitation of victims. The act therefore strives to battle the cruelty evident in the society.
Policies of the government regarding children
A per the Constitution of India, Article 15(3), State should make exceptional arrangements for kids. Article 39 of Part IV of the Constitution requests that the State direct its strategy towards making sure about (in addition to other things), that Child are not mishandled; not constrained by financial need to enter diversions unacceptable to their age or strength; and that they are offered occasions to create in a sound way and in states of opportunity and respect, secured against good and material deserting.
Also, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), embraced by the UN General Assembly in 1989, conveys widespread acknowledgment of Child s’ privileges to its part countries.
Indian implementation of the cause:
I. Promoting the vision of the UNCRC, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is India’s basic law in managing Child needing care and assurance. It takes into account their necessities through consideration, assurance, improvement, treatment, social reintegration, through its Child agreeable methodology by tending to issues to the greatest advantage of kids.
II. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO), 2012 is one of the Indian government’s most reformist laws, to battle sexual brutality against Child s. POCSO qualifies penetrative rape on a Child beneath the age of 12 as exasperated penetrative rape, a wrongdoing culpable with a fine and a base term of thorough detainment for a very long time, which can be reached out to life detainment.
III. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013’s presentation of a few new sexual offenses under the Indian Penal Act, which rebuffs assault of a female under 16 years is viewed as a bothered type of assault culpable with a fine and a base term of thorough detainment for a very long time, which can be stretched out to life detainment.
The Government of India has made various arrangements with respect to the physical, mental and social improvement of the offspring of the country. The Government has likewise made numerous strategies on the wellbeing and instruction of the Children. Coming up next are a portion of the significant arrangements of the Government with respect to Children:
- Public Policy for Children, 1974.
- Public Policy on Education, 1986.
- Public Policy on Child Labor, 1987.
- Public Health Policy, 2002.
National Policy for Children, 1974
India is one of only a handful few nations in the global community who has a composed arrangement for kids. This strategy proclaims that the kids are the preeminent and imperative resource of the country. The policy therefore includes a number of pointers to further the cause:
- All the kids will be covered under a complete wellbeing program.
- Projects to be actualized to give nourishment to kids and eliminate insufficiency from the eating regimen of the kids.
- To give non-formal training.
- Exceptional regard for be taken towards the genuinely tested, intellectually impeded children.
- All kids will be guaranteed correspondence of chance.
National Policy on Education, 1986
This was second approach on education; the principal strategy of 1968 was reexamined by this arrangement. This approach was viewed as a major milestone. This approach gave most elevated significance on the Universally Primary Education.
- It additionally offered significance to youth care and schooling.
- It gave accentuation on the need of enormous scope speculation on the improvement of the rights of children in India through Government and through deliberate associations.
- Later on, a number of projects were attempted all through the nation like the Operation Black Board, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and so forth The Operation Black Board and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan gained popularity throughout the nation.
National Policy on Child Labor, 1987
The National Policy on Child Labor is a significant effort on the part of the state actively working towards the progressive elimination of child labor in India. The policy creates an umbrella approach in terms of actions in the field of education, health, nutrition, integrated child development & employment.
The National Policy on Child Labor is set under the following three heads:
- The plan developed by the legislature.
- Focusing on general and specific programmes or schemes that aim to benefit the cause of eradication of child labor wherever possible.
- Project-based planning of action in areas where the concentration of child labor happens to significantly higher engaged in wage or quasi-wage employment.
National Health Policy, 2002
The very first policy on health, 1983 aimed at achieving good health for all by the year 2000. The second policy on health, 2002 envisages giving priority to school health problems which aimed at health education & regular health check-ups at schools.
The principle feature of this policy was to prevent communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS &to provide for universal immunization of children against all major preventable disease.
Laws related to specified social issued related to children
Sex – selective abortion, female feticide and infanticide
The main law for prosecuting persons who are engaging in sex selective abortion is the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994. The offences under the Act include the following.
- Conducting or associating or helping in the conduct of PND techniques or tests in an un-registered manner.
- Sex selection on a woman or a man or both or on any tissue, embryo, conceptus fluid or gametes derived from either one or both of them.
- Taking the services of an un-qualified person, whether on honorary or payment basis.
- Conducting a pre-natal diagnostic test for any purpose other than those mentioned as legal under the ambit of the act.
- Sale, distribution, supply, renting, allowance or authorization of use of any ultrasound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of a fetus to non-registered units. The regulation of the same must be legally registered.
- Advertisement or communication in any form in print, electronic media or internet by individualistic entities, medical professionals or companies on the availability of sex determination and sex selection in the form of services, medicines, or any kind of techniques, methods or ayurvedic medicines.
Laws related to children: Indian Penal Code, 1921
Provisions falling under the ambit of Indian Penal Code:
- Section 82 establishes that any act by a child under the age of 7 years does not connote an offense.
- Section 83 talks about determination of an act by a kid in the age group of 7 to 12 years through deciding on the maturity and judgment of the child in question.
- Section 89 encourages people to help children in need by asserting that an act done in good faith to protect them is not an offense.
- As per Section 312 voluntarily causing a pregnant woman to miscarry the unborn baby is punishable by law.
- As per Section 315 act done with intent to prevent a child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth is punishable by law.
- Causing death of an unborn child under Section 316 is considered as a serious offense.
- Section 317 penalizes parents for exposing and abandoning of a child below 12 years.
- Section 318 concealing the birth of a child by secretly disposing their body is punishable.
The punishment for these offences extends from two years up to life imprisonment, or fine or both.
Implementation of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 establishing forestalling Child relationships with upgraded disciplines of thorough detainment for a very long time and additionally fine of INR 1 lakh.
The act gives a comprehensive definition of the term ‘child’ by setting an age bar to mean a male under 21 years and female under 18 years. A minor is characterized as an individual who has not accomplished the period of greater part according to the Majority Act.
There are arrangements for upkeep of the young girl. The spouse is subject to pay the upkeep on the off chance that he is a significant that is attained majority. On the off chance that the spouse is a minor, the onus to pay the upkeep would automatically fall on his parents so on and so forth.
The legitimate status of a Child marriage is voidable at the choice of the gatherings. Be that as it may, if the assent is gotten by extortion, duplicity, exploitation or if the Child is allured away from his legitimate guardians and if the sole reason for existing is to utilize the Child for dealing or other improper purposes, the marriage shall be held to be void.
The Act likewise accommodates the arrangement of a Child Marriage Prohibition official whose obligations are to forestall Child relationships and spread mindfulness with respect to the equivalent. Therefore, employing people in official capacity to put a stop on the heinous practice as well as spread awareness about the cause.
Children (Pledging of Labor) Act, 1933 declares any agreement by a parent or guardian to pledge the labor of a child below 15 years of age for payment or benefit other than reasonable wages, illegal and void. It also provides punishment for such parent or guardian as well as those who employ a child whose labor is pledged.
Article 24 enshrined in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy, lays down that no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
The Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1976 prohibits forcing someone into warranted labor for debt compensation. The act extinguishes all debt agreements and obligations. It prohibits creation of any new bondage agreement and discharges warranted laborers from all debts that they were warranted. Compelling someone to render warranted labor is punishable below the law. This includes penalty for fogeys WHO pledge their kid or alternative relations to figure as a warranted jack.
The Child Labor (Prohibition & Regulation) Act (CLPR Act) 1986 prohibits employment of a baby in eighteen occupations and sixty-five processes and regulates the conditions of operating of kids in alternative occupations/ processes. As per this Act a baby means that someone who has not completed fourteen years of age. The Act provides penalty for the offence of using or allowing employment of any kid in resistance of the provisions of this Act.
List of alternative labor laws that proscribe kid labor and/or regulate operating conditions for kid laborer’s and might be accustomed book the employers is as follows:
- The Factories Act, 1948.
- The Plantation Labor Act, 1951.
- The Mines Act, 1952.
- The businessperson Shipping Act, 1958.
- The Apprentices Act, 1961.
- The Motor Transport staff Act, 1961.
- The Beedi and smoke staff (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966.
- The W.B. outlets & institution Act, 1963.
Child trafficking is the fastest growing and the third largest organized crime in India. According to UNICEF 12.6 million children are engaged in unsafe occupations. According to NHRC of India 40,000 children are abducted each year out of which 11,000 are untraced. According to The Global Slavery Index, existing figure of slaves is 18.3 million in India. Every 8 minutes, a child is missing in India.
The legal framework obtainable for addressing a case against kid trafficking is as follows:
The Indian legal code 1860 – The IPC punishes cheating, fraud, kidnapping, wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, procuring minors, shopping for and commerce of minors for immoral functions.
Special and native Laws that may be accustomed book explicit forms and functions of trafficking include:
- Andhra Pradesh Devadasi’s Act, 1988 or Karnataka Devadasi Act, 1982.
- Bonded Labor System Abolition Act, 1976.
- Child Labor Prohibition & Regulation Act, 1986.
- Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.
- Guardians and Wards Act, 1890.
- Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.
- Immoral Traffic Act, 1986.
- Information Technology Act, 2000.
- Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic drugs and Psychotrophic Substances Act, 1988.
- Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.
- Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994.
The Constitution of India, 1950 guarantees generic protection to all citizens alike including children as listed below:
- Article 14 talks about equality before the law and equal protection of laws to every and each person within the country.
- Article 15 prohibits discrimination or prima facie differentiation on the basis of race, caste, sex, descent, creed, place of birth or residence.
- Article 16 of the Constitution Prohibits discrimination on grounds of race, caste, sex or place of birth in any public employment or availment of any public opportunity.
- Article 17 abolishes ‘Untouchability’ and declares the practice of ‘untouchability’ in any manner, a punishable offence.
The first Indian law that came into force to produce for penalty for the preaching and follow of ‘Untouchability’ and for any matter connected with it had been ‘The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955’. Even job a scheduled caste by their caste name or use of casteist slurs for example ‘chamar’ may be a punishable offence below this law. It also prohibited to enquire about the caste of an individual.
In 1989, the govt of Bharat instituted ‘The scheduled Castes and scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, that perceives different types of demonstrations of savagery and separation incurred upon the scheduled Castes and therefore the scheduled Tribes by Non-Scheduled Castes and Non-Scheduled Tribes as serious offenses.
It likewise accommodates foundation of Special Courts at space level to aim the offenses under the ambit of act, arrangement of Special Public Prosecutors to direct cases in Special Courts, and burden of paying a fine by the State.
Street and runaway children
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015 – The JJ Act, 2015 provides for reinforced provisions for each child in would like of care and protection and child in conflict with law. a number of the key provisions include:
- Change in word from ‘juvenile’ to ‘child’ or ‘child in conflict with law’, across the Act to get rid of the negative connotation related to the word “juvenile”.
- Inclusion of many new definitions like parentless, abandoned and relinquished children. The act has created a segregation between petty, serious as well as atrocious offenses in order to decide upon the quantum of the punishment.
- Special provisions for atrocious offences committed by child greater than the age of sixteen, the section containing the same exists in singularity.
- A distinctive chapter on Adoption to counter adoption of orphan, abandoned and relinquished children; it sets in place a mechanism in order to regulate the system of adoptions.
- The Narcotic medication and hallucinogenic Substances Act, 1985 –
Under the ambit of the given law, the regulation and supply of illicit substances is controlled. The creation, ownership, transportation, purchase and supply of any narcotic drug or hallucinogenic substance and makes the entity subject to discipline. The use of weapons or arms, use of children and minors or in association with nursing instructive foundation or national assistance workplace square measure some of the justification for higher discipline.
The interference of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic medication and hallucinogenic Substances Act, 1988 is construed as accessory to the crime and therefore contains a separate charge under the act.
Kidnapping or maiming a minor for mendicancy is punishable below Section 363A of IPC. As per Section 2(1) of the metropolis interference of mendicancy Act, 1959, “Begging” means-
- Soliciting or receiving almsgiving, in a very public place whether or not or not below any pretense like singing, dancing, fortune telling, playing or giving any article for sale.
- Entering on any personal premises for the aim of soliciting or receiving alms.
- Exposing or exhibiting any sore, wound injury, deformity of diseases whether or not of a personality’s being or animal, for extorting alms.
- Allowing oneself to be used as Associate in Nursing exhibit for the aim of soliciting or receiving alms.
Presently, there is no Scheme of the Central Government on Beggary nor there is a central law on the matter. The States are responsible for taking necessary preventive and rehabilitative steps. Around 22 States as well as Union Territories have enacted their own anti-beggary legislation or adopted legislation enacted by other States or UTs.
Conclusion and a way forward
Several pioneers of the society unanimously agreed on the importance of children in the world. One such example is the late president of US Sir John F. Kennedy who one said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resources and its best hope for future”. History has witnessed several atrocities and progression in the view of the same India is on the path of development. The common goal here is to ensure child safety and create a peaceful atmosphere for growth. There exist several acts in circulation all targeting specific cruelties aimed at children be it discrimination, exploitation, labor, marriage and so on. However, the there is a lack of active implementation.
In our view the reason for the same is also fueled by the fact that there is minimal awareness on the rights so guaranteed to children. In the hindsight it is imperative to remember that drafting a law is not the entire solution merely a step towards to it. Therefore, there is a need for deep research over the grass root issues plaguing the society as well as spreading awareness about the same. Several rural areas in India still witness child marriages, plethora of rapes go unreported, the education rate remains low. The laws governing the same require review and specific attention. The abundance of laws clearly points towards the apparent loopholes and liberal implementation which leave scope for heinous atrocities to still occur.
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