This article is a compilation of Article 24 as it is. You can understand it well, that’s why its explanation is also given below, you must read it. Its explanation is also available in Hindi, for this you can use the link given below;
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|📖 Read This Article in Hindi|
📜 Article 24
|24. Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. — No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.|
Who would like to work against their will or to work without wages or to be sold etc. But it is a fact or rather it has been a fact.
In independent India, no person should have to go through these situations, that is why it has been prohibited in the fundamental rights part (Part 3) of the Constitution.
The name of this part is Right against Exploitation and there are two articles under it – Article 23 and Article 24. (As you can see in the chart) We are going to understand Article 24 here;
|right against exploitation↗️|
|⚫ Article 23 – Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labor|
⚫ Article 24 – Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.
Meaning of Exploitation ;
By using power or by taking advantage of the situation, when someone is forced to work against their will and more than their capacity and they are not paid according to it, then it is called exploitation.
Since exploitation is done to take advantage of someone or a group for selfish reasons, it can involve inhuman treatment of a person, an act that hurts his self-esteem, etc.
Karl Marx had said that there are two types of classes in the society; One is the Exploited class and the other is the Exploiting class.
The exploiting class owns all the means of production and distribution while the exploited are propertyless and helpless. In such a situation, the exploiting class never wants the exploited class to come at par with it.
Our country does not run on the complete principles of Marx, but it takes due care that no one should be exploited. Exploitation is not at all good for a healthy society, that’s why our constitution maker made it a part of fundamental right while giving priority to its abolition.
In order to follow it properly, many laws were also made in its support over time so that the exploited class could be eradicated. So let us see what is special in this category of fundamental rights;
| Article 24 – Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.
It says that children below the age of 14 years cannot be made to do any work which is not suitable for that child in factories or any other similar place.
The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 is a very important law in this direction, which was again amended in 2016 to the Child and Adolescent Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
It is clearly stated in the Act that children below the age of 14 cannot be engaged in any hazardous work.
In addition, it prohibits employment of adolescents in the age group of 14 to 18 years in hazardous occupations and processes.
For this, arrangements have also been made for punishment, which can be imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years or a fine of 20 thousand to 50 thousand.
In 2005, under the Child Rights Protection Commission Act, a National Commission and State Commissions were established for the protection of the rights of children so that crimes against children or violations of child rights can be tried quickly.
| definition of child labor
What would be called child labor is defined in many ways. Which you can see below;
◾ Children who are doing paid or unpaid work in service sector like factories, workshops, establishments, mines and domestic labour.
◾ Children living on the streets, such as shoe shine boys, rag pickers, newspaper sellers, beggars etc.
◾ Children who are either mortgaged by their parents for very little money or who are working to repay the debt inherited from their father.
◾ Children who are working as part of family labor in agriculture and home-based work.
◾ Children who satisfy one’s sexual appetite in a brothel.
◾ Children employed for wages (either bonded or otherwise) as domestic help.
Remember here that The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (ie POCSO Act) was enacted in the year 2012 to protect children from sexual offences.
| child labor in statistics
Child labor is a serious problem in India. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are an estimated 4.35 million child laborers between the ages of 5 and 17 in India.
Many of these children are forced to work long hours in dangerous and unhealthy conditions, and are often paid very little. or not paid at all.
The Indian government has passed several laws to protect children from forced labor and child labor, but enforcement of these laws is often lax. The problem is particularly acute in rural areas and in certain industries such as agriculture, brick kilns and textile factories.
Children from poor families, especially those from lower castes and tribal communities, are more likely to be forced into labour.
| cause of child labor in india
There are many factors contributing to the high rate of child labor in India. Some of the main reasons include:
◾ Poverty: Poverty is one of the main reasons for child labor in India. Many families are too poor to send their children to school and depend on their children’s wages to survive.
◾ Lack of education: Lack of education can also lead to child labour. Children who do not have access to education are more likely to be recruited into child labor as they have few other options to earn a living.
◾ Traditional customs: Some communities have traditional customs that view children as economic assets, and work as a normal part of childhood. This cultural attitude can make it difficult to change the practice of child labor.
◾ Unemployment: High unemployment rate in India leads to poverty and pushes children into work.
◾ Economic Factors: In some parts of India, certain industries such as agriculture, brick kilns and textile factories, depend heavily on child labour. The lack of regulation and oversight in these industries can make it easy for employers to exploit children.
◾ Government policies: Lack of effective laws and poor enforcement of existing laws is also one of the main reasons for child labor in India.
◾ Caste and tribe: Children from lower castes and tribal communities are particularly vulnerable to child labor as they are generally marginalized and often have limited access to education and other social services.
It is important to note that child labor is a complex problem with many interrelated causes, addressing it will require a multipronged approach that addresses root causes such as poverty, lack of education, poor governance and cultural norms.
| Main organization working in this field
Many organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working to address the issue of child labor in India by providing education and vocational training to children and working with employers to improve working conditions.
◾ United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – UNICEF was started in 1946 as the International Children’s Emergency Fund (IECF). It was formed by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration after World War II to provide relief and healthcare to affected children and mothers.
In the same year, the United Nations established the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to better manage its post-war relief work.
However, it became a permanent part of the United Nations in 1953 and was later renamed the United Nations Children’s Fund.
- UNICEF works for the rights of children all over the world. It also works to provide safe shelter, health care, nutrition, education, equality and protection from disaster and conflicts.
- UNICEF also works in other areas, such as vaccines, safe water and sanitation, HIV prevention in mothers and babies, protecting children from violence and abuse, early childhood development, adolescent health, etc.
- It also works in areas in humanitarian crisis to provide relief and rehabilitation.
Today, UNICEF works in more than 190 countries in collaboration with other United Nations partners and as part of the larger United Nations system.
UNICEF also presents research reports on various aspects related to children around the world. And it got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.
International laws on child labor also exist;
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was held in the year 1989. Under this, it was considered that children are not just objects but, they are also a human being and they have their own rights.
This convention holds that childhood is distinct from adulthood, and lasts until age 18; It is a special, protected time in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity.
India was the 170th member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to ratify the 138th Convention. This convention requires member parties to set a minimum age below which no person should be employed.
India also agreed to the 182nd Convention, which requires the state to eliminate and prohibit any form of extreme child labor activities such as trafficking, armed conflict, prostitution and use of children in illegal activities.
Project Indus: The Government of India and the US Department of Labor jointly collaborated to create Project Indus which aimed to prevent and eliminate child labor, especially from hazardous occupations. It was developed under ILO-IPEC (International Labor Organization- International Program on the Elimination of Child Labour).
| In India
Talking about India, there are many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India working to address a wide range of social and economic issues including child labour. Some of the major NGOs working to combat child labor in India include:
◾ Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA): Bachpan Bachao Andolan is one of the most well-known NGOs working to combat child labor in India.
In the year 1980, “Save Childhood Movement” was started by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who has so far saved more than 80 thousand innocent lives from destruction.
It primarily focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating child labour, as well as campaigning for stronger laws and policies to protect children.
◾ Child Rights and You (CRY) – Child Rights and You is an Indian NGO that aims to restore the rights of children, especially in relation to education, health and protection from exploitation, abuse and discrimination.
◾ Save the Children: This international NGO works to provide education, health care and other services to children in need, with a focus on ending child labor in India and promoting child rights.
◾ Pratham: This NGO works to provide quality education to underprivileged children in India, focusing on children who are not in school or who have dropped out.
◾ ChildFund India: ChildFund India works to improve the lives of vulnerable and underprivileged children through various programs that focus on education, health and community development.
◾ Goodweave India: This NGO works to combat child labor in the carpet industry in India by certifying and promoting carpets made without the use of child labor and by rescuing and rehabilitating child workers.
These are just a few examples of the many NGOs working to combat child labor in India. The work of these organizations is vital in raising awareness of the issue and in providing services and support to children and families affected by child labour.
It is also worth noting that, in addition to large NGOs, there are many local and grassroots organizations that play an important role in protecting and supporting children in their communities.
They may have a deeper understanding of local cultures, customs and social dynamics which can be beneficial in addressing child labour.
| Legal system for the welfare of children in India
Child labor is a matter on which both the Central Government and the State Governments can legislate. And several legislative initiatives have also been taken at both the levels. Major national legislative developments include the following:
◾ The Indian Constitution, under Article 24, prohibits the employment of children in factories etc. About which we have gone above.
National Child Labor Project (NCLP): The Government launched the National Child Labor Project (NCLP) scheme in 1988 for the rehabilitation of working children in 12 child labor endemic districts of the country.
◾ Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act
The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 designates a child as a person who has not completed his 14 years of age.
The Act aims to regulate the hours and conditions of work of child labor and to prevent child labor from being employed in hazardous industries.
In 2016, this act was amended to the Child and Adolescent Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
Now, as the name suggests, the objective of this Act was to prohibit the engagement of children in all occupations and to prohibit the involvement of juveniles in hazardous occupations and processes.
- As per this amendment in the Act, the Government of India will make a provision of stringent punishment for the employers who violate the Act.
- The Act also allows the government to prohibit the employment of juveniles who are working in any hazardous conditions.
- Provision of safeguards for creative child workers or artistes who have been permitted to work under the Act.
- A complete ban was imposed on the employment of children below the age of 14 years.
- Children are allowed to work only after school hours or during holidays on the condition that the occupations are not hazardous.
- Children below the age of 14 years will be allowed to work in family business/enterprises only if those occupations are non-hazardous.
- A statutory provision was also ensured for a Child and Adolescent Labor Rehabilitation Fund with appropriate Government contribution for each child rescued.
- District Magistrate or subordinate officer may be made responsible for enforcement and may be given such powers.
Remember here that participation of children or adolescents in work that does not negatively affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling is generally considered positive.
Activities such as helping your parents around the house, assisting in the family business, or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays.
- Gurupadaswamy Committee 1979 – was a statutory committee constituted by the Central Government of India, which found that the inexplicable reason behind child labor in India was directly linked to poverty.
- The findings and analysis of the committee were then used by the central government to enact the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
Right to Education Act, 2009
Article 21A – Ensures the right to elementary education. Under this, the state will ensure the right of free and compulsory education to the children of 6 to 14 years of age.
Remember here that it was not always a part of the constitution but it was added in 2002 by the 86th constitutional amendment.
Although Article 45 under the Directive Principles of Policy in Part 4 of the Constitution provided for free and compulsory education for children, but being a Directive Principle, it was not enforceable. That is why it was made enforceable by adding it to the fundamental right.
In order to properly implement Article 21A, in 2009, the central government also passed an act “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act”. Under which it was given a proper legal form.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the resultant legislation as envisaged under section 21-A.
Its objective is to provide every child with the right to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school.
We have discussed this topic in detail under Article 21A, for specific information you read it – Article 21A – Indian Constitution [With Explanation]
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act 2015 replaced the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. And under this some important changes were made;
The Act seeks to hold the child accused of a crime accountable not through punishment but through counselling.
The Act defines orphan, surrendered and abandoned children.
It also defines petty, serious and heinous crimes by children.
- Under this, a heinous offense is one which attracts a maximum punishment of 7 years of imprisonment under any existing law.
- A serious offense is one which attracts imprisonment of 3 to 7 years.
- A petty offense is one which attracts a maximum of 3 years of imprisonment.
The Act provides greater clarity on the functions and powers of the Juvenile Justice Board and the Child Welfare Commission.
An important provision of the amended Act is that it provides for minors in the age group of 16-18 years to be treated as adults in case of heinous offences.
Any minor in the age group of 16 – 18 and who is accused of having committed a heinous crime can be tried as an adult.
For this, the Juvenile Justice Board will assess the child’s physical and mental capabilities, his ability to understand the consequences of the offence, etc. and determine whether the child can be treated as an adult.
Apart from all this, there are many Acts and provisions under which the welfare of children is taken care of; such as
- Factories Act, 1948
- Mines Act, 1952
- National Child Labour Programme, 1988
| world day against child labor
The World Day Against Child Labor was initiated by the International Labor Organization in 2002. It is celebrated every year on 12th June across the world.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the day was observed through a virtual campaign, jointly organized by the Global March Against Child Labor and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labor in Agriculture (IPCCLA). The theme for 2020 was “Save children from child labour, now more than ever”.
| Closing Remarks
In conclusion, child labor is a serious issue in India and it affects millions of children every year. Despite government laws and policies to protect children from forced labor and child labor, enforcement is often lax, and the problem persists.
The causes of child labor in India are multi-faceted and include poverty, lack of education, traditional customs and poor enforcement of laws. Effectively addressing the problem requires a multi-pronged approach that addresses root causes such as poverty, lack of education, poor governance and cultural norms.
This can include providing education and vocational training to children, working with employers to improve working conditions, creating awareness of the issue, and advocating for stricter laws and enforcement.
It is important to note that child labor is not only morally wrong, but it also has negative economic and social consequences for society as a whole.
Although India has shown improvement in the 2001 and 2011 census data, there is still a long way to go to completely eliminate child labor from the country.
Government should implement strict laws and punishment against child labor and primary education should be made free for all so that no one is deprived of education and knowledge.
So overall this is Article 24, I hope you have understood. To understand other article, you can use the link given below.
What is Article 24?
24. Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. — No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
Must read the entire Article 24 to understand it with detailed explanation
| Related Article
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⚫ अनुच्छेद 21
|⚫ Article 23|
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⚫ Article 21
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⚫ Fundamental Rights
⚫ Judiciary in India
⚫ Executive in India
⚫ Basics of Parliament
⚫ Fundamental Rights
⚫ Judiciary in India
⚫ Executive in India
Disclaimer - The articles and their interpretations presented here are based on the original Constitution (latest edition), DD Basu's commentary on the Constitution (mainly) and various scholars of the Constitution (whose writings are available in newspapers, magazines and audio-visuals on the Internet). We have just tried to make it interesting and easy to understand.