Monday, January 19, 2009

Child Labour is a Crime

IPC section 374

According to this section that whoever unlawfully compels any person to labour against the will of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or both.
The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986

The act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 in factories, mines and in other forms of hazardous employment (including domestic labour and service industry), and regulates the working conditions of children in other employment.
Government servants are prohibited from employing children as domestic servants. Through the recent notification effective from 10 October 2006, the government has imposed these restrictions on everyone.
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000

Under this act any person responsible for abuse assault and neglect or causing physical or mental suffering can be punished for up to 6 months and/or fined। Also any person who procure a juvenile or the child for hazardous work, keeps him in bondage and withholds the child's earnings or uses them for his own purpose is liable for imprisonment up to 3 years and also a fine.
Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976

Under this act any kind of forced labour including child labour is a punishable offence. There are many incidences where judiciary has acted for elimination of child labour and has dealt with it as forced labour or bonded labour.
Supreme Court Directions on Child LabourThe Supreme Court of India, 1996 has given certain directions regarding the manner in which children working in the hazardous occupations are to be withdrawn from work and rehabilitated, and the manner in which the working conditions of children working in non-hazardous occupations are to be regulated and improved.
The judgment of the Supreme Court envisages:
Withdrawal of children working in hazardous industries and ensuring their education in appropriate institutions;
Contribution of Rs.20,000 per child to be paid by the offending employers of children to a welfare fund to be established for this purpose;
Employment to one adult member of the family of the child so withdrawn from work, and if that is not possible a contribution of Rs.5000 to the welfare fund to be made by the State Government;
Financial assistance to the families of the children so withdrawn to be paid out of the interest earnings on the corpus of Rs. 20,000 or Rs. 25,000 deposited in the welfare fund as long as the child is actually sent to the schools.
In a nutshell, the recent notification regarding child labour simply means that any body employing children of 14 years of age, can be prosecuted as a criminal. It also means that government is accountable to deal with child domestic labour as a crime, and should make all efforts for its control and elimination. It should also make arrangements to provide justice, compensation and rehabilitation to the victim

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