File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Voicing The Unvoiced: Unmasking The Curse Of Child Labour In India

We are blessed by God's grace with children, the guardians of our country's destiny. Despite their beautiful fragility, which is reminiscent of the delicate rose petals, they are in danger of being crushed. One of the most obvious societal ills plaguing our civilization continues to be child labour, a scourge that casts its evil shadow not only onto society but also upon the very nature of humanity. Unfortunately, eradicating child labour is still a distant goal, a dream abandoned in the sands of time. Particularly in developing countries like India, child labour puts the idealized perception of childhood in jeopardy.
The world's largest child labour force, made up of 31 million young employees employed in dangerous occupations, is still present in India, an enormous issue. The moment has come for action and thought. In this piece, we examine the urgent modern problem of child labour and we will sort through the maze of laws and rules intended to stop this reprehensible activity, illuminating the legal framework and its effectiveness in resolving this serious issue.

Laws Related To Child Labour In India

  • Minimum Wages Act, 1948: It provides minimum pay rates for a range of jobs defined by the relevant government and included in the Act's schedule.
  • Factories Act of 1948: It forbids the employment of children younger than 14 in any factory. The law also set restrictions on who, when, and how long pre-adults between the ages of 15 and 18 might work in any factory.
  • Merchant Shipping Act, 1958: It prohibits the employment of children under the age of 15 on board a ship but has some exceptions.
  • Plantation Labour Act, 1951: A child (under the age of 14) or adolescent (aged 15-18) can be hired only if a doctor confirms that they are fit for work.
  • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986: The Act's Schedule prohibits the employment of children in 57 jobs and 13 activities.
  • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016: The Amendment Act expressly prohibits hiring anyone under the age of fourteen. Furthermore, the amendment prohibits recruiting teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 for dangerous professions and processes and restricts their working conditions in circumstances where this is not prohibited. The amendment also makes it illegal for enterprises to hire any child or adolescent in violation of the Act, increasing the severity of the penalties for such infractions.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act of 2000: Anyone who obtains or employs a child in any unsafe employment or bondage is guilty of a criminal that carries a prison sentence. This law imposes penalties on individuals who use child labour in violation of earlier legislation.

International Laws Related To Child Labour

  • International Labour Organization:
    • ILO Convention No. 138 (1973) on Minimum Age: This establishes a minimum age of 15 years (or 14 in some cases) for admittance to employment and work, as well as particular measures to protect the employment of children aged 13 to 15.
    • ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor: The worst forms of child labour, including forced or coerced labour, trafficking, and hazardous work, are defined and prohibited by this convention.
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC): Children have the right to be shielded from economic exploitation and the performance of any work that could be dangerous, interfere with their education, or be detrimental to their physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development.
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Goal 8.7 asks for the ban and abolition of the worst kinds of child labour.

Role Of Indian Judiciary Against Child Labour

The Indian judicial system is crucial to the advancement of child welfare. An important landmark decision defining the scope of child labour and how it should be managed was made in M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu[i]. In this particular instance, the Apex court was able to establish the guidelines for the employment of children and the protection of their rights in businesses involving hazardous employment.

In the case of P. U. D. R. Vs. Union of India [ii], the Supreme Court directed the State Government to amend the schedule of the Employment of Children Act, 1938 and that working in construction is hazardous and dangerous. Employing children under the age of 14 for construction labour violates Article 24 of the Constitution.

The employment of children in the carpet manufacturing business in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, was brought to the Supreme Court's attention in the case of Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India & Others [iii]. It gave the District Magistrate the go-ahead to undertake raids, which helped free 144 kids who had been taken into the owners' forced custody. Children who were working near furnaces in the glass sector and were exposed to chemical fumes and coal dust were relieved of their jobs on the Supreme Court's instruction in a landmark case.

Unfortunately, it has been noted that the government has not always carried out the judiciary's instructions and recommendations. There haven't been any ratifications of international treaties like ILO Conventions 138 and 182. There is no set national minimum age for employment. In light of this, the judiciary's proactive approach to protecting children's rights has been laudable, and court decisions have strengthened and protected the fundamental rights of children.

Recommendation To Prevent Child Labour:
  • Raise awareness: Inform communities, parents, and children about the risks and consequences of child labour. People can be helped to appreciate the value of children's education and well-being through awareness programs.
  • Strengthen Legislation: Enact and enforce strict laws against child labour and establish suitable work age limitations. These rules should encompass all types of child labour, including dangerous jobs, and be by international labour norms.
  • Universal Access to High-Quality Education: Ensure that all children have free, mandatory and high-quality education. Families are more inclined to send their children to school rather than employment if education is made more accessible and appealing.
  • Poverty Alleviation: Address the underlying reasons for child labour, which frequently include poverty and economic uncertainty. Create social safety nets, adult vocational training, and career possibilities for parents so they can sustain their families without relying on child labour.
  • Corporate Responsibility: Encourage businesses to implement ethical labour standards and perform supply chain audits to guarantee they aren't directly or indirectly supporting child labour.
It is up to us, the proponents of justice and compassion, to be the resounding voices for the unvoiced heartbreaking curse of child labour in India. More than just our sympathy, these helpless beings caught in the dark web of exploitation demand our steadfast dedication to change. As we draw to a close on this sombre look at child labour, let us keep in mind that merely acknowledging the issue is not sufficient.

We must move quickly and deliberately. It is our collective responsibility to demand better legislation, hold decision-makers and businesses responsible for their deeds, and foster possibilities for empowerment and education. We must pursue the struggle against child labour with unflinching tenacity since it cannot be won overnight. It is a fight for the very soul of our country and the future of the helpless kids who deserve to grow up without hardship and terror. Together, we can break the chain of child labour and rewrite the narrative of these young lives, giving them the chance to dream, learn, and thrive. The time to act is now. Let us be the change-makers, the champions of justice, and the defenders of hope.

  1. M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu (1996) 6 SCC 756
  2. People's Union of Democratic Rights v. Union of India (1982) SCC 494
  3. Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India (1984) 3 SCC 161

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly