The Rights of Child

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Child Rights and Law
: a guidebook for legal interventions

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Authored by: Maharukh Adenwalla Illustrated by: Kajal Gaba This publication is supported by: National Lottery Charities Board (UK) This publication is for private circulation. Any part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means with due acknowledgment to the authors and publishers. © CHILDLINE India Foundation, CIF First Published, February 2002 Printed at: Jenaz Printers, 261 2853 2

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FOREWARD
CHILDLINE often encounters calls that require legal intervention while addressing the emergency needs of children and protecting their rights. Many a times, it is fear of the judicial system, lack of knowledge about procedures, lack of support systems or simply getting stuck at what would seem as the simplest of procedures; the fact however is that legal interventions have never been easy. The idea of this manual germinated from some such difficulties faced in handling calls. In some calls, hospitals refused admissions to medically ill children, police refused to act on sexual abuse charges, authorities dealt ineffectively with institutional abuse or the labour department turned a blind eye at child labour. This manual serves as an insight into the legal responsibilities of varied allied systems that come in contact with a child, besides outlining intervention guidelines for calls that require legal inputs and procedures. This manual is a result of the various discussions held at different CHILDLINE partnership meets and forums, where the team shared their experiences, problems and concerns with respect to the legal system. The concept was also shared at the CHILDLINE Coordinators’ meet and this manual is a result of these discussions. We are grateful to Ms. Maharukh Adenwalla, a lawyer and child rights activist, for authoring this publication and meeting with the CHILDLINE teams in order to understand the legal problems faced by them. 3

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This manual would definitely be of help, to intervene in legal cases. However, the reader must remember that these guidelines are only ideal legal steps. At times, due to social pressures, a legal intervention step has to be combined with social work skills keeping in mind the best interest of the child and respecting the wishes of the child. It is equally important to explain the legal process involved, to the child. Therefore it is recommended that the team members discuss the nature and implications of legal interventions within the team and with the child before going ahead with legal action. This manual is divided into two parts.The first part illustrates different types of calls at CHILDLINE that require legal intervention. These calls overlap in different categories so the reader may find one case study classified into 2 or more categories, depending on the situation of the child in need of care and protection. This classification is also listed in Annexure-I. The second part of the manual deals with various laws related to children. We hope this manual is of use to not only our CHILDLINE teams but to other child rights activists as well, who work towards protecting children in need of care and protection. CHILDLINE India Foundation Team

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PREFACE
A child has rights, but due to age constraints is unable to claim her/ his rights. The rights of a child are exercised by proxy through the family, society and State. Unfortunately, these very agencies are responsible for violating children’s rights. Non-governmental organisations, therefore, play a vital role in protecting and promoting the rights of children. CHILDLINE...
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