Child Rights and India

RELEVANCE – UPSC GS PRELIMS & GS MAINS-II
First go through the text (given after the questions) and then attempt the questions
PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q) Discuss about the various constitutional and legal provisions regarding protection of child rights in India.

The term ‘Child’ is not defined in the Indian Constitution. The legal definition of child tends to
depend upon the purpose. There are a number of legislations in India which define the term ‘Child’ depending upon the purpose. For example:

1 .Under the Indian Majority Act 1875, the age of majority is eighteen years & in case of a minor for whose person & property a guardian is appointed or whose property is under the supervision of the Court of Wards the age of majority is twenty-one years.
2 .Under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulations) Act 1986, child means a person who
has not completed his fourteenth year of age.
3 . Under the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1926, child means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty-one years of age and, if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age.
4 . Under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2000, ‘Juvenile’ or ‘Child’ means a person who has not completed eighteenth year of age.

Child Rights and Constitution

The Constitution of India guarantees all children certain rights, which have been specially included for them. These include:
1 . Right to free and compulsory elementary education for all children in the 6-14 year age
group (Article 21 A).
2 . Right to be protected from any hazardous employment till the age of 14 years (Article 24).
3 . Right to be protected from being abused and forced by economic necessity to enter occupations unsuited to their age or strength (Article 39(e)).
4 . Right to equal opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and guaranteed protection of childhood and youth against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment (Article 39 (f)).

Indian Constitution also obliges states to take steps for the protection of child rights. The State must:
1 . Make special provisions for women and children (Article 15 (3)).
2 . Protect interest of minorities (Article 29).
3 . Promote educational interests of weaker sections of the people (Article 46).
4 . Raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health (Article 47).

Besides these rights, children also have rights similar to any other adult male or female. These are:
1 . Right to equality (Article 14).
2 . Right against discrimination (Article 15).
3 . Right to personal liberty and due process of law (Article 21).
4 . Right to being protected from being trafficked and forced into bonded labour (Article 23).
5 . Right of weaker sections of the people to be protected from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46).

Other Legislations

Apart from the Constitution, there are a number of legislations which deals with children. The following are some of them –
1 . The Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929
2 . The Child Labour (Prohibition And Regulation) Act
3 . The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act
4 . The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act

Besides, the government has also formulated National Policy for Children 2013 to ensure that
the principles of this Policy are respected in all sectors at all levels in formulating laws, policies
and programmes affecting children.