The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, is an amendment of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. The amendment prohibits the employment of children (6-14 years) in any occupation or process (with two exceptions), and introduces the category of ‘adolescents’ (14-18 years), who are prohibited from working in ‘hazardous occupations and processes'.
The amendment also provides for the rehabilitation of children or adolescents employed illegally and sets up the Child and Adolescent Labour Rehabilitation Fund at the district level for this purpose. As compared to the 1986 law, the amendment prescribes stricter punishment for those employing children and adolescents.
What are the exceptions related to the employment of children in this Act?
While the Act prohibits the employment of children in any occupation or process, they are allowed to work in two cases. They can help their families or family enterprises if the work is not hazardous and only after school hours or during vacations. They can also work as artists in an audio-visual entertainment industry (including in advertisements, films and television serials, or in sports activities other than circuses) if such work follows appropriate safety measures. Children can only do this kind of work if it does not affect their education.
What does the Act say about the employment of adolescents?
The Act allows adolescents to do certain kinds of work but prohibits employing them in hazardous occupations and processes. Part III of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, lists the kinds of work that adolescents can do, besides specifying hours of work, weekly holidays, and health and safety rules. Hazardous occupations, also listed in the Schedule at the end of this Act, include work in mines, with inflammable substances or explosives, or work involving a ‘hazardous process’ (which is defined in the Factories Act, 1948).
What is the punishment for employing a child or adolescent under this Act?
Anyone who employs a child or adolescent or permits him/her to work without following the regulations mentioned in this Act and the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, can be imprisoned from six months to two years or fined between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 50,000, or both. A person who has been convicted of a similar offence before can be imprisoned for 1-3 years. The parents or guardians of children or adolescents thus employed cannot be punished unless they violate the regulations mentioned in these Acts.
What is the Child and Adolescent Labour Rehabilitation Fund?
Children or adolescents whose employment violates the regulations mentioned in this Act and the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 can be rescued and rehabilitated. The government has set up the Child and Adolescent Labour Rehabilitation Fund in every district or for two or more districts. The government ensures that the fines paid by those who illegally employ children and adolescents are credited to the Fund. Additionally, the government credits Rs. 15,000 rupees to the Fund for each child or adolescent for whom fines have been credited to the Fund. The government may deposit this amount in a bank, and the amount, along with any interest it may accrue, is paid to the rescued child or adolescent.
Focus and Factoids by Keiu Kikas.
Ministry of Law and Justice
Government of India, New Delhi
30 Jul, 2016