In the movie Salaam Bombay!, we see a young boy working as a runner for a tea vendor. Did you know that Indian law takes a firm stance against child labour and the exploitation of children?
The right against exploitation is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India, 1950. Article 24 of the Constitution states that children below the age of fourteen years should not be employed to work in any factory or mine, or any other hazardous employment.
The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 absolutely prohibits the employment of children below 14 years. Some exceptions are allowed for children helping out their families or working as artists. The prohibition of employment of children below fourteen years is linked to children’s right to education until fourteen years of age.
The Act also prohibits the employment of adolescents (14 to 18 years of age) in certain hazardous occupations and processes including mining, domestic work, handloom industry etc. It regulates the hours and period of work of adolescents, also providing weekly holidays.
Employers who violate the law and engage children/adolescents can be punished with imprisonment from six months to two years, and/or a fine of Rupees twenty thousand to fifty thousand.