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Child Rights in India: An appraisal

Child rights have a long history. From time to time different religions, cultures and legislative systems of different countries try to protect their rights. At international level as well as national level, many efforts have been taken to tackle with the problems that children face. And many rights are given to children in order to protect them from abuse. At international level as well as regional level Rights of the children were protected at its best. In many respects, children are more likely to be victims of human rights violations than adults for that many bold steps have been taken for their protection whether in the form of conventions, measures or anything else.

There are various international declarations, measures, conventions which aim to protect child rights like UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, The Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948, Declaration on the Rights of the Child 1959, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 etc.

There are other regional documentations and treaties which are significant for child rights. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 1990(ACRWC), is the first regional treaty on children’s rights, builds on the 1979 declaration on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child.

This article is mainly concerned about child rights in India. From the very beginning, India is active participant in recognizing child rights but still there are many child right violations in India, either due to ineffective implementation or lack of concentration towards these violations. India is taking different steps to provide best facilities to the children of nation so that they will be enriched in every field. They have to take many more steps to make their country crime free towards children.

Etymologically, the term child comes from the Latin term ‘infans’ which means the one who does not speak. For the Roman, this term designates the child from its birth, up to the age of 7 years. This notion evolved a lot through centuries and cultures to finally designate human being from birth until adulthood. But this conception of the child was wide and the age of the majority varied from a culture to another.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, of 1989 defines more precisely the term child:
A child is any human being below the age of eighteen years, unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.

A nation’s children are a supremely important national asset, and the future well-being of a nation depends upon how its children grow and develop. It is the duty of the state to look after a child to (or intending to) ensuring full development of its personality.

A safe childhood is a human right. Nature has provided some inherent rights to every human being including children. These fundamental rights are bestowed upon human beings from the very inception. Human being is endowed with rights since the stage of foetus. Foetus in the mother’s womb is the starting point since then human being is guaranteed certain basic rights. These rights are intrinsic in every one. State cannot give or nullify these rights, which are inherent.

State has to recognize and guarantee these rights. This article will show how international and national measures are taken for child rights. There are various declarations and conventions which aim at the protection of child rights in different forms. International conventions play a vital role in protection of the rights of children. Among all the international declarations, conventions, and measures, United Nations convention on the rights of the child 1989 is most important document on the rights of the child.

This convention on the rights of the child has been hailed as inaugurating a new era of international human rights. From the very beginning, India was concerned about the rights of children. It would be quite clear from this article that India by every means tries its best to protect the rights of the children. Even it was before independence that, there were many laws for children in India.

When India got independence, it gave a special treatment to children by enacting different laws in the constitution for their betterment and upliftment. There are so many rights in Indian constitution which directly or indirectly deal with children and their rights, most important among them are Fundamental Rights4 and Directive Principles. In many articles of part iii and part iv of Indian constitution, children are given different rights which will protect them from any kind of abuse. This article also discusses various Legislative acts, Policies, and Programmes which are directly made for children in India.

These legislations are equally important for the protection of rights of the children. These acts are specifically enacted so that, children are protected from the malafide practices of society. National policies were introduced for the upliftment of children. In every Five Year Plan of India which started from 1951, there is a special mention of children.

Law Commission also submits its report on rights of the children. Courts also play a vital part in protection of child rights in India. Some of the landmark judgements are also mentioned below in this article which are very important for the philosophy of child rights. From time to time courts give various guidelines and orders for the protection of children of the nation.

Child Rights under International Regime

Regimes are sets of governing arrangements that include networks of rules, norms, and procedures that regularize behavior and control its effects. Regimes are sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures as per Stephen Krasner.7 Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the development of international law on children’s rights has paralleled, in part, with the development of the general body of international human rights law.

Law in the form of international Conventions can contribute considerably in framing of national policies. Individuals and national and international agencies have been active for many decades in promoting concern and legal action on behalf of children. International conventions, protocols, covenant, multilateral and bilateral treaties have been concluded for betterment of children and respective action plans and programs are initiated. International as well as national NGOs have been paying high attention towards best interest of the child in terms of their education, development, participation, nondiscrimination & non-exploitation and social justice. The international community recognized that Child Rights are fundamental freedoms and the inherent rights of all human beings below the age of 18.

These rights apply to every child, irrespective of the child’s, parents or guardians race, color, sex; parent /legal guardian ex, creed or other status. Universal Declaration on Human Rights, 1948 marked the beginning of international declarations, conventions, and measures for the protection of child rights. It proclaims a catalogue of human rights which apply to all human beings which include children.

After UDHR, The United Nations proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1959, that, the child needs special safeguards because of his mental and physical immaturity which includes appropriate legal protection before and after his birth. In the international era most comprehensive document on the rights of the children is The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989. Based purely on the number of substantive rights it sets forth, as distinct from implementation measures, it is the longest U.N.

Human rights treaty in force and unusual in that it not only addresses the granting and implementation of rights in peacetime, but also the treatment of children in situations of armed conflict. The CRC is also significant because it enshrines, for the first time in binding international law, the principles upon which adoption is based, viewed from the child’s perspective. CRC signaled the beginning of an era of concrete efforts by nations of the modern world to give legal recognition and protection to the rights of children, although the subject had been on the international agenda since shortly after the First World War.

Following closely after the convention was the African charter on the Rights and Welfare of the child (the charter) which was adopted by the Assembly of Heads of state and Government of the organization of African (OAU) in July 1990, and was brought into force in November 1999. ECECR, 1996 also stresses in the Preamble the aim of promoting the rights and best interests of children.

Child Rights in Indian Jurisprudence

The law policy and practice of child welfare have undergone a significant change from a historical perspective. Before 1839, there was the concept of authority and control. It was an established common law doctrine that the father had absolute rights over his children. After this, the welfare principle was reflected in the dominant ideology of the family. The Victorian judges, who developed the welfare principle, favored one dominant family form.

The Indian traditional view of welfare is based on Daya, Dana, Dakshina, Bhiksha, Ahimsa, Samya-Bhava, Swadharma, And Tyaga, the essence of which were self-discipline, self-sacrifice, and consideration for others. It was believed that the well being of children depended on these values. Children were recipients of welfare measures. It was only during the 20th century that the concept of children’s rights emerged.

The Indian Majority Act, 1875 was enacted in order to bring about uniformity in the applicability of laws to persons of different religions. Unless a particular Personal law specifies otherwise, every person domiciled in India is deemed to have attained majority upon completion of 18 years of age.

However, in case of a minor for whose Person or Property, or both, a guardian has been appointed or declared by any court of justice before the age of 18 years, and in case of every minor the superintendence of whose property has been assumed by the Court of Wards before the minor has attained the age, the age of majority will be 21 years and not 18.
  1. The Legal Framework
    It is evident that legislation is one of the main weapons of empowerment of children. Even though appropriate legislation may not necessarily mean that the objectives of the legislation will be achieved, its very existence creates enabling provisions whereby the state can be compelled to take actions. Legislation reflects the commitment of the state to promote an ideal and progressive value system. The notion of duty also applies to the state.

    Pre Constitutional Era

    Before independence, India was very much concerned about Child Rights in many ways. Many steps were taken for the protection of children. There were legislations which protected the rights of children. Some of the main Acts were – The Apprentices Act 1850, Guardian and Wards Act 1890, Reformatory Schools Act 1897, Madras Children Act 1920, Amendment in Criminal Procedure Code 1923.

    Post Constitutional Era
    1. Constitutional Protection by Fundamental Rights and Directive
      The Indian constitution accords rights to children as citizens of the country, and in keeping promulgated in1950, encompasses most rights included in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. Over the years, many individuals and public interest groups have approached the apex court for restitution of fundamental rights, including child rights.

      The constitution of India provides a protective umbrella for the rights of children and guarantees all the children certain rights which include: Right to free and compulsory elementary education for all children in the age group 6-14 year, Right to be protected from any hazardous employment till the age of 14 years, Right to be protected from being abused and forced by economic necessity to enter occupation unsuited to their age or strength, Right to equal opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in condition of freedom and dignity and guaranteed protection of childhood and youth against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment, the state is duty-bound to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health, including that of children, 23 International laws and treaties shall be respected by the state to every possible extent, including the CRC and its optional protocols, Optional Protocol to CRC on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and Optional Protocol to CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and it shall be the duty of every citizen of India who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

      Besides, children have rights as equal as all other adult citizens of India, the important few of which are; Right to equality, Right against discrimination,27 Right to personal liberty and due process of law, Right to being protected from being trafficked and forced into bonded labor, Right of weaker sections of people to be protected from social injustice and all forms of exploitations, Right to freedom including the freedom of speech and expression, Personal liberty and right to due process of law, Right against exploitation, Religious , cultural, educational rights, Right to constitutional remedies, State is obliged to, within its economic capacity and development, secure provisions for educational opportunities and facilities,36 and State shall make all possible efforts to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all the citizens, thereby implying a uniform code for the adoption of children.

      In addition to these basic rights, the Constitution of India provides affirmative or positive discrimination especially for children. These rights are necessary because of the physical and mental immaturity of children; they are especially vulnerable and need special protection. The constitution prohibits discrimination of citizens on the grounds of religion, race, cast, sex, place or birth, or any of them. But sub-section 3 provides, Nothing in this Article shall prevent the state from making any special provision for women and children. Therefore, laws can be made giving special protection to children. These rights are included in parts III and IV of the Constitution. The fundamental Rights in part III are enforceable in courts whereas the directive principles of state policy in part iv, are guidelines and principles that are fundamental to the governance of the country. It is the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws. If the fundamental Rights are violated, a writ petition can be filled in the Supreme Court or the High court.

      Under the Constitution, it is the duty of the state to secure that the children of tender age are not abused and forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age and strength, and to ensure that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. The directive principles provide for maternity relief. Rights provided under part iv (directive principles) of the constitution can be read into the fundamental rights provided in part iii and hence enforceable in courts. Due to judicial interpretation, many of the directive principles have now become enforceable through legal actions brought before the court (for example, the RTE Act).

    2. Other Legislations
      Some of the important legislations in India to safeguard the rights of children are:
      Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (Amended in 1979): It restraints child marriage until the minimum age, i.e. 21 for male and 18 for female, has been attained by them. It applies to the people of all the religions.

      Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956 (Amended in 1986) : This act with respect to children deals with person(s) who procure or attempt to procure any child for prostitution or person(s) who are found with a child in a brothel (it is presumed child has been detained for the purpose of prostitution) and punishes them. It also provides for the due care of rescued children.

      The Women’s and Children’s (Licensing) Act, 195645: The Act was enacted with an object to protect women and children from exploitation and inhuman activities going on in institutions. It mandates the institutions for women and children to get a license from the licensing authority before establishing or maintaining the institution.

      Probation of Offenders Act, 195846: This act with the help of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 tries to ensure that no person under the age of 21 years faces imprisonment.
      Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976: The act aims at eradicating the bonded labour system in India which exploits the weaker sections of society, especially children.

      Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986: This act regulates the working conditions for children in employment and prohibits working of children in certain kinds of employments.

      Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 1992: This Act regulates the Production, Supply, and
      Distribution of Infant milk substitutes, feeding bottles, and infant feeds with a view to the Protection and Promotion of breastfeeding and ensuring the proper use of infant feeds and other incidental matters.

      Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994: In order to stop prenatal sex determination leading to female foeticide, the parliament enacted the Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act (PNDT Act), 1994.

      This act came into force on 1st January 1996 and was not completely implemented. There were virtually no cases of prosecution. In the mean time, new techniques had been developed that used preconception or during conception sex selection. To bring these new technologies under the pure view of the act and to ensure rigorous implementation, the law was amended in 2003.

      On 31st March 2003, the act was amended and titled as the Preconception and Prenatal diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act), 1994 effective from 14th February 2003. This act provides for the prohibition of sex selection before and after conception, and for regulation of prenatal diagnostic techniques appropriately as mentioned earlier, and for prevention of their misuse.

      Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, 2006: The PCMA received the assent of the President of India on 10 January 2007. The basic premise of the law is as follow: (a) make a child go through a marriage is an offence(b) child or minor is a person up to 18 years in the case of girls and 21 years in the case of boys.

      Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 200952: The Constitution (Eighty –sixth Amendment ) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years as a fundamental right in such a manner as the state may, by law, determine.

      The RTE Act, 2009 which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that every child has a right to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards. The RTE Act came into effect on 1 April 2010, upholding the right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighborhood school in the 6 to 14 age group.

      Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012: The act aims at punishing the offenders who are guilty of sexual offences against children below the age of 18 years of age. It also lays down procedures for the trial, such as, the name of child victim shall not be disclosed, proceedings of the case are to be conducted in court with cameras recording the trial, accused is not to be kept in-front of the child victim during examination or cross-examination, etc.

      Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015: This act came into force on 15 January 2016. It aims at ensuring Protection, proper care, development,
      and social reintegration of children in difficult circumstances by adopting a child friendly approach. This act is one of the important acts in India for the children in need of care and protection and also children in conflict with the law.

      It requires that the state provides free legal support to the juveniles, and proper care and protection is provided to those in need. It also calls for a child-friendly approach in adjudication and disposition of matters involving children.

  2. Policies and Plans related to Children

    A number of policy initiatives, plans, and Programmes relating to children have been undertaken in India. The policy documents are reference points available for planning and other interventions.

    Some of the major policy and plan documents are the following:
    National Policy for Children, 1974:
    It is the first written policy for the children in India. It aims at providing better enforcement of constitutional rights of the children along with those granted by the CRC. Some of the provisions include free education, comprehensive health and nutritious plans, etc.

    National Child Labour Policy, 1987:
    The policy was formulated with the basic objective of suitable rehabilitating the children withdrawn from employment and reducing the incidence of child labour in areas where there is a known concentration of child labour. The policy consists of three main elements; the legal action plan, focus of central government Programmes, and project-based plan of action.

    National Plan for SAARC Decade of the Girl Child, 1991-2000:
    In 1992, the Government of India prepared a separate plan-National Plan for the Girl Child-for the period 1991-2000, identifying three major goals; survival and protection of the girl child and safe motherhood, overall development of the girl child, special protection for vulnerable girl child in need of care and protection.

    National Plan of Action for Children, 1992:
    The National Plan of Action for Children is a follow-up of the promises made by the global fraternity at the World Summit for Children. The NPAC identifies quantifiable targets in terms of major as well as supporting major goals like reduction of infant mortality rate to less than 10, reduction of maternal mortality rate by half, improved protection of children in especially difficult circumstances, and many more.

    National Nutrition Policy, 1993:
    The National Nutrition Policy reflects the understanding that malnutrition is not simply a matter of not enough food, but is most frequently caused by a combination of factors, including lack of time and attention to child care, in advocate feeding of the child especially in the 1st year of life, poor health, unhygienic conditions, as well as the lack of Purchasing power of poor families.

    National Population Policy, 2000:
    The crux of the policy rests on denying state representation to the parliament based on their population. In other words, the essence of the population policy is that by taking away the Democratic rights of those states whose population is growing too fast, these states will somehow find a way of controlling their population. It simultaneously addresses the issue of child survival, mental health, and contraception.

    National Policy for Children, 2013:
    The Government of India adopted a new National Policy for Children, 2013 on 26 April 2013. The NPC, 2013 aims to protect and encourage the rights of the children to survival, health, nutrition, education, development, protection, and participation. It has incorporated major inputs of various organizations regarding the needs of children with disabilities.

Law Commission Report on Child Rights
Law Commission of India, in its 259th Report titled, Early Childhood Development and Legal Entitlements, highlighted the issues relating to the rights of children under the age of six years. The Commission took up the study on request of some of the representatives of Alliance for Right to Early Childhood Care & Development and Mobile Crèches, who met the Commission in November, 2015.

The Commission focused its research on the children up to the age of six years as this period is considered as a ‘window of opportunity’, i.e., if the child receives favourable environmental inputs of health, nutrition, learning and psychosocial development, the chances of the child’s brain developing to its full potential are considerably enhanced.

Furthermore, the commission has advocated for formulation of policy of guidelines laying down minimum leave to women employed in private sector. It has been further suggested that Article 24A to be inserted to part III of the constitution of India, to ensure that the child’s rights to basic care and assistance becomes an enforceable right.

There are many more guidelines suggested by Law Commission either related to constitutional amendments or acts made by the legislature. Some of the recommendations are very hard to follow or implement like Fundamental duty of parent or guardian to provide education to their children regardless of their age but in country like India where parents are always waiting that when children will complete education and help them to earn their livelihood. For that India have to tackle with problems of poverty so that parents will happily follow their duty to educated their children ward regardless of their age as well as they have to provide free higher education.

Children and Five Year Plans
The Indian economy is based in part on planning through its Five Year Plans (FYPs), which are developed, executed, and monitored by the erstwhile planning commission. The FYPs are centralized and integrated national economic Programmes. The First Five Year Plan was introduced in 1951, which identified health, nutrition and education as major areas of concern with regard to children.

With every passing Five Year Plans, concentration on child welfare was give like getting basic services to children, improve the health, nutrition and educational status of working children. During these FYPs many schemes were introduced for the welfare of children, some of them were specifically made for girl child like Apni Beti Apna Dhan scheme, Cradle scheme, Raj Lakshmi scheme. The last Five Year Plan that is Twelfth Five Year Plan) monitored many targets for children like to reduce IMR and MMR, to improve child sex ratio, to reduce under nutrition among children, to ensure that all children receive a protective environment.

Landmark Judgements
The courts have, on several occasions, responded to the needs of children through public interest litigation, especially in the areas of improvement of conditions of children in institutions, prisons, illegal confinement, treatment of physically and mentally disabled children, child labour, adoption, juvenile justice, prevention of trafficking of young girls, welfare of children of prostitutes, prohibition of corporal punishment in schools, and sex selection tests. Several of these issues were raised before the courts by social activists, journalists, newspaper reporters, or taken up Suo motu by the courts.

Some of the landmark decisions are mentioned below:

M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu:

This judgement passed elaborate directions to stop child labour in hazardous occupations and processes.
The Supreme Court has considered the constitutional perspectives of the abolition of the child labour in the notorious Sivakasi Match industries. The Court has issued detailed directions to eradicate the practice of employing children below the age of 14 years in this hazardous industry. The court has insisted that the employers must comply with the provisions of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act. The Court has emphasized that abolition of child labour is definitely a matter of great public concern and significance.

Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs. Union of India 59:

Bandhua Mukti Morcha is an organization that works for the release of bonded laborers’ in India. They sent a letter to the Supreme Court regarding bonded labour going on in Faridabad district of Haryana in ‘inhuman and intolerable conditions’. The court converted the letter into a writ petition, and after confirmation by the investigating team appointed by the court of the existence of the said bonded labour system, the court directed:
The State Governments to constitute Vigilance Committees in each district and its sub-divisions.

The District Magistrate to take up as top priority the task of identification of bonded labour.

The State Government to concentrate on rehabilitation of bonded labour and evolve effective Programmes for this purpose.

Unnikrishnan J.P. & Others v. State of Andhra Pradesh:
Right to education, in this case, was included under the right to life by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The court observed that ‘education is a preparation for a living and for life’ and thereafter concluded with the statement ‘we hold that every citizen has a right to education under the Constitution. The State is under an obligation to establish educational institutions to enable the citizens to enjoy the said right’.

Nil Ratan Kundu v. Abhijit Kundu:
The Supreme Court has said that the welfare of a child is not to be measured merely by money or physical comfort, but the word ‘Welfare’ must be taken in its widest sense, and the tie of affection cannot be disregarded.

Pramati Educational & Cultural Trust & Others v. Union of India & Others:

In 2014 there was a second constitutional challenge to the RTE Act before a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Pramati case again by private schools. The grounds for challenge this time were that Article 15(5) and 21A of the constitution and the RTE Act violated the basic structure of the constitution and the right to equality by making an unreasonable distinction between aided and unaided minority schools. CLPR represented the Azim Premji Foundation as an intervener in this matter.

Jayna Kothari argued that there was a difference in the standard of scrutiny in a basic structure review and fundamental rights review and that the obligation imposed by Article 15(5) and 21A on private unaided non-minority schools was not unreasonable or against the basic features of the Constitution. The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court once again upheld the constitutionality of the RTE Act.

The Court held that as the objectives of Articles 15(5) and 21A were to provide equal opportunities for students from weaker sections of the society and would not violate the private schools’ right under Article 19(1) (g). Unfortunately the Court carved out yet another exception and held that all minority schools, even aided ones would be exempt from coverage of the RTE Act.(6 May 2014).

Madras High Court Judgement : Madras High Court directed the Centre and States to prohibit homework for Class 1 and Class II students in all schools (including CBSE) in the Country. The Court also directed the Government to direct the State Governments forthwith, not to prescribe any other subjects except language and Mathematics for Class I & II students and language, EVS and mathematics for Class III to V students as prescribed by NCERT.

The Court also directed the Centre to direct the State Governments and Governments of Union Territories forthwith to formulate "Children School Bag Policy" reducing the weight of the School bags in the line of guidelines issued by either State of Telangana or State of Maharashtra. Justice N Kirubaran was hearing a petition filed by M. Purushothaman, a practicing advocate challenging the circular issued by the CBSE, dated 29.07.2017 and further direct the respondents viz., Department of School Education and Literacy Human Resource Development Ministry, Government of India; National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to require the CBSE schools to buy books published by NCERT alone and not the books published by private publishers.

There are various rights which are given to children from time to time. Rights either on international level or national level for children are beneficial for them. These rights are the best protectors of their interests and capabilities. On International level child rights are best preserved by different conventions and measures. International conventions and declarations are comprehensive documents consisting of various articles which best define the rights of child, but these rights are not implemented in such a way.

Children are the most vulnerable section of population in whole world. They are abused and their rights are violated still they don’t know about it. They are unaware of their rights because of their tender age. Each year, thousands of children die worldwide and the childhoods and developments of millions more are scared by harmful practices perpetrated by parents, relatives, religious and community leaders and other adults.

The CRC which is the most important document in international law for the rights of children upholds the child’s own independent right to religious freedom (Article 14), but still everywhere in the world children are not given this opportunity to choose their religion when they will be capable to do so. Parents very soon after their birth start to practice different religious practices on them which influence them to a particular religion. There should be effective mechanism at global level which would investigate and check whether the rights given in documents are in force or they are only written on papers.

India is also witness to many child right violations. Despite giving many rights to children, framing policies for them, children of India are still facing so many problems that even legislations cannot help them. Children are suffering a lot because violation of their rights usually remain unreported and therefore largely these violations remain unaddressed. Children are the nation’s backbone they should be treated in a very protective manner.

The responsibility of a state is not only to make laws but to see their effective implementation. State is no doubt enacting laws but they should investigate that why these violations happen. The role of both NGOs and Government bodies is imperative. A policy reform can give teeth to police action on those who participate in this heinous crime, only if corruption doesn’t enable cover-ups.

Many child rights in India are violated by their parents whether knowingly or not. Child marriage is the outcome of the violation of their rights by their parents. Parents involve their children in child marriages when they even don’t know the meaning of marriage. Another social evil is if not marrying their children at tender age but they engage them according to their choices and preferences and eventually when they attain the age of majority it becomes the violation of their right to marry a person not of their choice else their parents would oppose them. Some of the parents are violating the rights of their girl child by not allowing them to get education.

Child labour is also a kind of child right violations which is done by family members. This menace where a parent is involved in violations of the rights of their own child here, public awareness can work better then the legislative laws. State should allocate funds for these projects where parents should be given awareness about the rights of their children and how their children get affected when their own parents do so. They should be given new dimensions to think. There are other violations like trafficking of children, sexual abuse of children, however there are legislative acts for these crimes but state should make more strict laws for them.

  1. United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child 1989, art 1
  2. Lakshmi Kant Pandey v. Union of India on 6 February, 1984, AIR 469, SCR (2) 795
  3. Sheela Barse & Ors v. Union of India & Ors on 13 August, 1986, JT 1986 136,  1986 SCALE (2)230.  4  The Fundamental Rights are defined as the basic human rights of all citizens. These rights, defined in part iii of the constitution, applied irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed, or gender.
  4. The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines for the framing of laws by the government.
  5. Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, (1977),‘Power and interdependence : world politics in transition’,  (Boston:  Little,  Brown and Company,). 7 Ibid.
  6. Nick Axford, ‘children and global social policy:  exploring the impact of international governmental organisation’(2012),  international journal of social welfare
  7. Biermann  F,   Pattberg  p, Asselth  H. Van, ‘The fragmentation of global governance architectures: a framework for analysis’ (2009)  OSLO,  MIT press
  8. Jo Boyden, Jason Hart, ‘The Statelessness of the World’s Children’ (2007)
  9. Karen Wells, ‘Childhood in Global Perspective’ (2009), ISBN:9780745638362.
  10. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, with a Preamble and 54 articles, was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on November 20, 1989, and entered into force on September 2, 1990.  G.A. Res. 44/25, annex, 44 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 167, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (1989); 28 I.L.M. 1448 (1989).
  11. Dejo Olowu, ‘Protecting Children’s Rights in Africa: A Critique of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child’ (2002), 10(2), International Journal of Children’s Rights 127- 136
  12. The European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights, C. E. T.S no. 160, has a Preamble and twenty six articles, it was opened for signature on January 25, 1996 and entered into force on July 1, 2000
  13. Asha Bajpai, ‘Child Rights in India: Law, Policy, and Practice,’( ‘3rd edn’, Oxford University paperbacks 2017)
  14. Indian Majority Act 1875, Preamble
  15. Ibid, S 3
  16. Asha Bajpai, ‘Child Rights in India:  Law, Policy, and Practice’, (‘3rd edn’, Oxford University paperbacks 2017).
  17. Constitution of India 1950, art 21A
  18. Ibid, art 24(iii)
  19. Ibid, art 39(e) (iv)
  20. Ibid, art 39(f). 23 Ibid, art 47
  21. Ibid, art 51(c)
  22. Ibid, art 51A(k)
  23. Ibid, art 14. 27 Ibid, art 15
  24. Ibid, art 21
  25. Ibid, art 23
  26. Ibid, art 46
  27. Ibid, art 19(1)(a)
  28. Ibid, art 21
  29. Ibid, art 23
  30. Ibid, art 29
  31. Ibid, art 32. 36 Ibid, art 41
  32. Ibid, art 44
  33. Ibid, art 15
  34. ibid, arts 32 and 226
  35. ibid, art 39(9)(e)
  36. ibid, art 39(f)
  37. ibid, art 42
  38. Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 passed on 28 September 1929 in the British India.
  39. Enacted by Parliament in the Seventh Year of the Republic of India, An Act to provide in pursuance of the   International Convention signed at New York on the 9th day of May 1950, for the Prevention of Immoral Traffic. 45 The Women’s and Children’s Institutions (Licensing) Act 1956, Central Act No. 105 of 1956.  46 The Probation of Offenders Act 1958, Act No. 20 of 1958.
  40. Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, Act No. 19 of 1976 as amended by Act No. 73 of 1985
  41. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, Act No. 61 of 1986
  42. The Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles And Infant Foods (Regulation Of Production, Supply And Distribution Act 1992, Act No. 41 of 1992
  43. Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act 1994, Act No. 57 of 1994
  44. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, Act No. 6 of 2007, come into force on 10 January, 2007. 52 Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, Act No. 35 of 2009, came into force on 1 April, 2010
  45. Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act 2012, Act No. 32 of 2012.
  46. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, Act No. 2 of 2016, came into force on 15 January 2016
  47. National Policy for Children  1974, No. 1-14/74-CDD-  NEW DELHI, the 22ND August, 1974
  48. Early Childhood Development and Legal Entitlements (National Law Commission Report No. 259, 27 August 2015 16:11 IST)
  49. Asha Bajpai, ‘Child Rights in India: Law, Policy, and Practice’, ( ‘3rd edn’, Oxford University paperbacks 2017)
  50. AIR 1997 SC 699. 59 AIR 1984 SC 802
  51. AIR 1993 SC 2178
  52. AIR 2009 SC (Supp) 732
  53. W.M.P. No. 9267 of 2018 and W.P. No. 25680 of 2018

Award Winning Article Is Written By:

  1. Adv.Afshana Bashir - Advocate at District and Sessions Court Srinagar and
    Email: [email protected]
  2. Adv. Rehaan Gowhar - Advocate at District and Sessions Court Srinagar.
    Email: [email protected]
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