The Child Labour Act, bans the employment of children, below 14 years of age in specified occupations and processes which are considered unsafe and harmful to child workers and regulates the conditions of work of children in employment's where they are not prohibited from working.
It also lays down penalties for employment of children in violation of the provisions of this Act, and other Acts which forbid the employment of children;
The Act extends to the whole of India. The Child Labour Act of 1986 applies to all establishments and workshops wherein any industrial process is carried on (excluding one covered under section 67 of the Factories Act, 1948).
An "establishment" includes a shop, commercial establishment, workshop, farm, residential hotel, and restaurant, eating house, theatre or other place of public amusement or entertainment.
WHO IS A CHILD LABOUR ?
Under the Act, 'Child' means a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age. Any such person engaged for wages, whether in cash or kind, is a child worker.
Occupation and Processes Where Child Labour is Prohibited
No child should be employed or permitted to work in any occupations set forth below, or in any workshop wherein any of the processes listed in Part B of the schedule is carried on, except a workshop wherein the process is carried on by the occupier with the aid of his family or a Government recognised/aided school.
Any occupation connected with-
- Transport of passengers, goods or mails by railway,
- Cinder picking, clearing of an ash pit or building operation in the railway premises,
- Work in a catering establishment at a railway station, involving the movement of a vendor or any other employee of the establishment, from one platform to another or into or out of a moving train,
- Work relating to the construction of a railway station or with any other work which is done in close proximity to or between the railway lines,
- A port authority within the limits of any port,
- Work relating to selling of crackers and fireworks in shops with temporary licences, and
The processes specified in Part B of the schedule are:
- Bidi making
- Carpet weaving
- Cement manufacture including bagging thereof
- Cloth printing, dyeing and weaving
- Manufacture of matches, explosives and fire works.
- Mica-cutting and splitting
- Shellac manufacture
- Soap manufacture
- Building and construction industry
- Manufacture of slate pencils (including packing)
- Manufacture of products from agate
- Manufacturing processes using toxic metals and substances such as lead, mercury, manganese, chromium, cadmium, benzene pesticides and asbestos.
- Hazardous processes, Printing and dangerous operations as notified in the rules of the Factories Act, 1948
- Cashew and cashew nut descaling and processing.
- Soldering processes in electronic industries.
Regulation of Work Conditions
Employment of children in an establishment or a class of establishments shall be regulated as under:
MAINTENANCE OF REGISTAR
There shall be maintained by every occupier in respect of children employed or permitted to work in any establishment other than those prohibited, 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-
- The name and date of birth of every child so employed or permitted to work;
- Hours and periods of work of any such child and the intervals of rest to which he is entitled;
- The nature of work of any such child; and
- Such other particulars as may be prescribed.
HOURS AND PERIOD OF WORK
No child shall be permitted or required to work between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. and to work overtime. The period of work on each day shall be so fixed that no period shall exceed three hours and that no child shall work for more than three hours before he has had a rest interval for atleast one hour. The total working hours including the rest interval and the time spent in waiting for work shall not be spread over more than six hours per day.
No child shall be required or permitted to work in any establishment on any day on which he has already been working in another establishment.
The Act also provides that every child employed in an establishment shall be allowed in each week, a holiday for one whole day. The weekly holiday specified by the employer shall not be altered more than once in three months and a notice to that effect shall be displayed at a conspicuous place in the establishment.
HEALTH AND SAFETY OF CHILD WORKERS
The appropriate Govt. has been empowered under the Act to make rules for the health and safety of working children in any establishment or class of establishment. These rules may provide for such matters as cleanliness in work place, drinking water, temperature and artificial humidication, fencing of machinery, excessive weights, protection of eyes, device for cutting off power, etc.
Duties of Employers/Penalties For Violation
- The employer will notify the Inspector in case he employs a child in his establishment, within 30 days from the date of such employment.
- The employer shall maintain a register in respect of children employed or permitted to work in his establishment and make it available for inspection by an inspector. This register will show
- name and date of birth of each child worker engaged by him or working in his establishment,
- hours and period of work and rest interval of each such child, and
- the nature of work of every such child.
- A notice in the local language and in English, containing an abstract of the list of occupations and processes which cannot employ a child and the penalty for doing so shall be displayed at every railway station, port or establishment, by its occupier.
- For employing any child or permitting any child to work in any of the occupations or processes in which he is not allowed to do so the penalty is imprisonment for atleast months which may extend to one year, or fine of not less than Rs. 10,000 which may be increased to Rs. 20,000, or both.
- Repeating the offence mentioned above after conviction the penalty is imprisonment for not less than 6 months, which may be extended to two years.
Failure to give notice to the inspector, or failure to maintain register, or failure to display a notice, (as explained under duties of employer) or failure to comply with or contravention of any other provision the penalty is simple imprisonment which may extend to one month, or fine up to Rs. 10,000, or both.
PROCEDURE RELATING TO OFFENCES
- Any person, police officer or Inspector may file a complaint of the commission of an offence under this Act in any court of competent jurisdiction.
- Every certificate as to the age of a child which has been granted by a prescribed medical authority shall for the purposes of this Act, be conclusive evidence as to the age of the child to whom it relates.
- No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a magistrate of the first class shall try and offence under this Act.