Chotus Gudiyas child Labour

Law

Refrain From Employing Chotus Or Gudiyas: Laws That Regulate Child Labour In India

From our friends at
LawRato

December 1st, 2018

SHARES

Many times we come across ‘Chhotus’ serving chai at tea stalls or cleaning tables at a roadside dhabha. It is not only chotus,we also come across ‘Munnis’ and ‘Gudiyas’ sweeping our houses or cleaning utensils. Childhood is a time of learning and getting an education. This age is not where their shoulders should be burdened with responsibilities, instead, it is the age to be given opportunities to dream.

“According to the latest census, there are 10.1 million child laborers between the age of 5 to 14 in India and around 80 % of these working children come from rural areas to work in agricultural fields, home-based employment, industries, and factories. The states where child labor is the most prevalent are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.”

PART 1

What is Child Labour?

According to the International Labour Organization, ‘child labor’ is the work where children are deprived of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and also harm their physical and mental development.  It is the kind of work which interferes with their school life and refrains them from experiencing a healthy childhood.

India’s census 2001 defined ‘child labor’ as the participation of a child, either physical or mental, part-time or full-time, below 17 years of age in an economically productive activity with or without compensation, wages or profits.

Why are they working instead of studying?

Child labor is a common sight in our nation. But here’s why?

Illiteracy

Illiteracy is one of the many reasons why tiny tots are involved in hardcore labor instead of playing, studying and learning new things. In most of the cases, the parents lie at fault as the vicious cycle of illiteracy passes on from generation to generation. Unless the parents understand the importance of education, awareness cannot be raised about the ill-effects of child labor. Generally, parents feel that education will not supplement life and those are the exact values that are imparted to the children. Hence, earning bread and butter becomes the sole motive and education takes a back seat.

Poverty

Poverty is the driving factor for many kids to drop out of school or never enter one at all because helping the family financially is imperative. It is very difficult to curb child labor because the parents helplessly involve their children into labor work to get whatever little finances the tiny hands can earn.

Professional needs

Certain professions demand work by delicate hands like bangle making industries where children are preferred over adults for the delicate and minute work. Furthermore, child labor is available at a meager price and many employers prefer poor kids in dire need of money who can be easily molded to do irregular and unorganized work.

PART 2

Is it legal to employ kids? Here are the laws that regulate Child Labour in India

No, it is not legal to employ a child under the age of fourteen. India has various statutes in place for condemning and prohibiting child labor. They are as follows:

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act of 2016

The recent amendments to the Act in 2016 have brought in various changes since the inception of child labor laws in 1986. Section 3 of the Act prohibits employment of a ‘child’ in any occupation or process which means that a person who has not completed the age of fourteen years shall not be permitted to work in any occupation. However, there are two kinds of exceptions to this law.

  • Children that help their family at work after school hours and in vacations.
  • Persons who work as artists in the entertainment industry or indulge in sports activities provided their work doesn’t hamper the education at school.

Section 3A of the Act states that no adolescent aged 15-18 shall be employed or permitted to work in any of the hazardous occupations or processes as follows:

  • Mines
  • Inflammable substances or explosives.
  • Hazardous process

The Act also punishes the employer who employs any child/adolescent or permits any child/adolescent to work in contravention of section 3 or 3A for a period of 6 months to 2 years and a fine ranging from Rs.20,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 14.

If you have seen someone violating child labor laws in your neighborhood, you can file a complaint at the nearest police station or engage a lawyer to solve the issue.

The Factories Act, 1948

Employment of young children in factories is prohibited under section 67 of the Factories Act. No child that has not completed the fourteenth year shall be allowed to work in any factory.

Adolescents or children who have completed fourteen years shall be allowed to work in any factory provided a certificate of fitness is granted to him/her as mentioned in section 68 of the Factories Act. The certificate of fitness is given upon an application of the parent/guardian or the person by a certifying surgeon and it certifies the person to be fit for employment in the factory.

The Mines Act, 1952

Activities around or inside mines are indeed dangerous and have cost many their lives. Therefore, keeping in mind the safety of children and adolescents, according to section 40 of the Mines Act, 1952, no person below the age of eighteen years is allowed to work in any mine or any part thereof. An apprentice or a trainee may be allowed to work in the mines under supervision provided that such person is not below the age of sixteen years.

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

With the introduction of this law, it became a punishable offense for anyone to keep a child in bondage for the purpose of employment under section 79 of the Act. Further, under section 78, any person engaging a child to vend, peddle, carry, supply or smuggle any intoxicating liquor, drug or substance is also liable to be punished.

PART 3

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009

The law does not talk about prohibiting child labor but instead has a positive approach to change the mindset of the society and focus towards compulsorily educating the children instead of sending them to earn bread and butter. It makes it mandatory to send children to schools, for free and compulsory education to all aged between 6 to 14 years according to Section 3 of the Act. Even the private schools have a mandate to reserve 25 percent of seats for children from disadvantaged groups and physically challenged children.

Child labor is a major socio-economic problem that the country faces today. Despite having the world’s largest education system, millions of children are not sent to schools but to earn money doing labor. A multi-pronged push is required to fight child labor by effective implementation of policies, creating widespread awareness and sending more children to school. For more information on child labor and how you can contribute to ending it, you may contact a labour lawyer in your city.  

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