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Children – All about their working under various Acts

Child Labour in India: Under Child Labour ( Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 no child shall be permitted to work between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. and shall not be permitted to work over time. No child shall work for more than 3 hours before he has an interval of one hour.

The main object of the Child Labour ( Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 is to address the social concern and prohibit the engagement of children who have not completed 14th year of age in certain employments and to regulate the conditions of work of children has been prohibited in occupations relating to (i) transport of passengers, goods or mails by railways (ii) bidi making (iii) carpet weaving (iv) manufacturing of matches, explosives and fire (v) soap manufacture (vi) wool cleaning (vii) building and construction industry. The Government has also prohibited employment of children in the following occupations or processes: (i) Abattoirs/Slaughter houses (ii) hazardous processes and dangerous operations as notified (iii) printing, as defined, (iv) cashew and cashewnut descaling and processing 9v) soldering processes in electronic industry. The Act prohibits employment of child in about 13 occupations and about 51 processes. [1] The Fundamental Rights mentioned in the Constitution of India (the law of land) in the Article 24 under Right Against Exploitation also mentions for prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.[2]

The Act provides that no child shall be permitted to work between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. and shall not be permitted to work over time. No child shall work for more than 3 hours before he has an interval of one hour. Spread over has been fixed at six hours. A cannot work in more than one establishment on any day. A weekly holiday is allowed. The Act also provides health and safety measures for the children. Section 13 of the Act describes to provide child workers facilities of drinking water, latrines and urinals, cleanliness, disposal of wastes and effluents, ventilation and temperature, etc. should be provided by the employer. Measures for safety from dust and fume, artificial humidification, fencing of machinery etc., also need to be provided by the employer.

The employer is required to notify the Factory Inspectors in case he engages a child for employment. Production of certificate of age is also required under the rules of the Act.

Maintenance of Register:

Every occupier shall maintain in respect of children employed or permitted to work in any establishment, a register to be available for inspection by an Inspector at all times during working hours or when work is being carried on in any such establishment, showing –

  1. The name and date of birth of every child so employed or permitted to work

     

  2. Hours and periods of work of any such child and the intervals of rest to which he is entitled
  3. The nature of work of any such child
  4. Such other particulars as may be prescribed.

Provisions relating to Child workers under various Acts:

Factories Act, 1948 [3] :

Section 22 of the Act mentions that no young person can be shall be allowed to clean, lubricate or adjust any part of machine which thereof would expose the young person to risk of injury from any moving part either of that machine or of any adjacent machinery.

Section 23 of the Act defines that no young person is allowed to be employable on dangerous machines.

Section 27 of the Act prohibits employment of children in any part of a factory for pressing cotton in which a cotton-opener is at work.

The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966 [4] :

Section 24 of the Act defines that employment of child under in this industry is strictly prohibited under this Act.

Plantation Labour Act, 1951 [5] :

Section 25 of the Act specifies that Women and children can be employed only between the hours of 6a.m and 7p.m. They can be employed beyond these hours only with the permission of the State Government.

Domestic Workers (Registration Social Security and Welfare) Act, 2008 [6] :

Section 14 of the Act specifies that no child shall be employed as a domestic worker or for any such incidental or ancillary work which is prohibited under any law.

Provision for Penalties under the Act:

Any employer:

  • For employing any child in contravention of the provisions of the Act – imprisonment for not less than 3 months extending to 1 year or with fine not less than Rs. 10000 extending to Rs. 20000, or both.
  • For second offence of like nature - imprisonment for not less than 6 months which may extend to 2 years.
  • Failure to maintain a register - simple imprisonment which may extend to 1 month or with fine which may extend to Rs. 10000, or both.

A qucik look at some of the frequently asked questions on child labour

Is there any legislation relating to prohibition of child labour in India?

In India there is a specific law formed to prohibit and regulated working conditions and age for child labour.  The Child Labour ( Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 was formed with the aim to protect the childhood of the young generation of the country and provide them basic necessary requirements during their growing years. The Article 24 of the Fundamental Rights mentioned in the Constitution of India (the law of land) under Right Against Exploitation also mentions for prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.

What is the aim and specifications provided under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986?

The main object of the Child Labour ( Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 is to address the social concern and prohibit the engagement of children who have not completed 14th year of age in certain employments and to regulate the conditions of work of children has been prohibited in occupations relating to (i) transport of passengers, goods or mails by railways (ii) bidi making (iii) carpet weaving (iv) manufacturing of matches, explosives and fire (v) soap manufacture (vi) wool cleaning (vii) building and construction industry. The Government has also prohibited employment of children in the following occupations or processes: (i) Abattoirs/Slaughter houses (ii) hazardous processes and dangerous operations as notified (iii) printing, as defined, (iv) cashew and cashewnut descaling and processing 9v) soldering processes in electronic industry. The Act prohibits employment of child in about 13 occupations and about 51 processes. 

What are the various provisions mentioned under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 to protect and safeguard young employees?

There various provisions relating to safeguard and protect working conditions for the benefit of child workers. The Act provides that no child shall be permitted to work between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. and shall not be permitted to work over time. No child shall work for more than 3 hours before he has an interval of one hour. Spread over has been fixed at six hours. A cannot work in more than one establishment on any day. A weekly holiday is allowed. The Act also provides health and safety measures for the children. Section 13 of the Act describes to provide child workers facilities of drinking water, latrines and urinals, cleanliness, disposal of wastes and effluents, ventilation and temperature, etc. should be provided by the employer. Measures for safety from dust and fume, artificial humidification, fencing of machinery etc., also need to be provided by the employer.

What are the responsibilities of an employer while engaging child worker?

The first and foremost responsibility of the employer is to notify the Factory Inspectors in case he engages a child for employment. Production of certificate of age is also required under the rules of the Act.

Every occupier shall maintain in respect of children employed or permitted to work in any establishment, a register to be available for inspection by an Inspector at all times during working hours or when work is being carried on in any such establishment, showing –

  1. The name and date of birth of every child so employed or permitted to work
  2. Hours and periods of work of any such child and the intervals of rest to which he is entitled
  3. The nature of work of any such child
  4. Such other particulars as may be prescribed.

 What are the provisions relating to penalties for non-binding to the laws of child labour?

The provisions relating to the penalties for any employer for not binding to the laws of the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 are:

  • For employing any child in contravention of the provisions of the Act – imprisonment for not less than 3 months extending to 1 year or with fine not less than Rs. 10000 extending to Rs. 20000, or both.
  • For second offence of like nature - imprisonment for not less than 6 months which may extend to 2 years.
  • Failure to maintain a register - simple imprisonment which may extend to 1 month or with fine which may extend to Rs. 10000, or both.

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