The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. Children are involved in the domestic, manual, agricultural sector, in hazardous factories, rag-picking, beedi-rolling, matchbox, brick kilns etc. If there is an increase in child labour then it shows that the country has failed in providing basic necessities to its citizens, especially children. In such cases, the effects of childhood are only negative. Therefore, laws have been implemented to protect such a tender age.

Constitutional provisions against Child Labour

Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. It states that no child who is less than 14 years of age shall be employed in any hazardous factories or occupations or industries.

Article 39(e): It states that the factories or industries in which labours are employed, the employer should not abuse the health and strength of the workers be it man, woman or children of tender age.

Since independence also various laws are implemented to control Child labour. The law includes:

  • The Plantation Labour Act, 1951: This Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 12 years, but a child above the age of 12 years can be employed only when the appointed doctor issues a fitness certificate to that child.
  • The Mines Act, 1952: This Act provides that no child should be present where the work of mining is going on and no child should be employed for such work.
  • The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958: Except for a training ship, this Act does not allow the employment of children below the age of 14 years in a ship. Also, a person under the age of 18 years cannot be appointed as trimmers under this Act. They can only be appointed under some specific conditions mentioned in this Act.
  • The Apprentices Act, 1961: Unless a child attains the age of 14 years and satisfy the standard of education and physical fitness test, he cannot undergo an apprenticeship training.
  • The Indian Factories Act, 1948: No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed in a factory according to section 67 of the Act. Also, there are rules that a factory has to follow if they employ pre-adults that are between 15-18 years of age.
  • The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986: No child who is less than 14 years of age shall be employed in any hazardous occupations that are provided in lists by law.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000: If any person employs a child in any of the hazardous work or uses the child as a bonded labour then that person will be punishable under this Act. 
  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009: Free and compulsory education must be provided to each and every child below 14 years of age.

About the Author: This Legal Article is prepared by Ms. Rupal Khajanji, law student at Pune University and is an intern at MyLawman. She can be reached at 

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