CHILD LABOUR ACT 1986
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 is one the most debated acts regarding children in India. It outlines where and how children can work and where they cannot. The act defines a child as any person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age. Part II of the act prohibits children from working in any occupation listed in Part A of the Schedule; for example: Catering at railway establishments, construction work on the railway or anywhere near the tracks, plastics factories, automobile garages, etc. The act also prohibits children from working in places where certain processes are being undertaken, as listed in Part B of the Schedule; for example: beedi making, tanning, soap manufacture, brick kilns and roof tiles units, etc. Part III of the act outlines the conditions in which children may work in occupations/processes not listed in the schedule. The number of hours of a particular kind of establishment of class of establishments is to be set and no child can work for more than those many hours in that particular establishment. Children are not permitted to work for more than three hour stretches and must receive an hour break after the three hours. Children are not permitted to work for more than six hour stretches including their break interval and cannot work between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. The employer of the child is required to send a notification to an inspector about a child working in their establishment and keep a register of all children being employed for inspection. If there is a dispute as to the age of the child, the inspector can submit the child for a medical exam to determine his/her age when a birth certificate is not available. Notices about prohibition of certain child labour and penalties should be posted in every railway station, port authority and workshop/establishment. The main provisions of the Act are:-
No child shall be required or permitted to work in any establishment in excess of such number of hours, as may be prescribed for such establishment or class of establishments. 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 an interval for rest for at least one hour. No child shall be required or permitted to work overtime. 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. Every child employed in an establishment shall be allowed in each week, a holiday of one whole day, which day shall be specified by the occupier in a notice permanently exhibited in a conspicuous place in the establishment and the day so specified shall not be altered by the occupier more than once in three months. Every occupier shall maintain, in respect of children employed or permitted to work in any establishment, 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:- (i) the name and date of birth of every child so employed or permitted to work; (ii) hours and periods of work of any such child and the intervals of rest to which he is entitled; (iii) the nature of work of any such child; and (iv) such other particulars as may be prescribed. The appropriate Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, make rules for the health and safety of the children employed or permitted to work in any establishment or class of establishments. Whoever employs any child or permits any child to work in contravention of the provisions of this Act shall be punishable with imprisonment or with fine or with both. 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. No Court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of the first class shall try...
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