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:
- 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.