Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986
The ILO defines Child Labour as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.

We believe Child Labour is the use of children for economic purposes at the cost of their healthy development, dignity, right to education and other pleasures of childhood. Very rarely can we identify one factor that leads to the violation of child rights. It is generally a ripple effect  caused by the dichotomy of a child’s social, political and economic environment. For example, child labour is not only a product of the economic need of a family but also a function of weak government policies, unemployment, lack of education and social ignorance. Therefore, there are two schools of thought- one that believes Child Labour should be banned completely and made punishable by law while the other believes in its prohibition and regulation whilst allowing children to work keeping in mind the best interest of the child and his/her family. This argument has made the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 by far the most controversial 
legislation related to children.

The Act was passed on 3rd December, 1987 and later amended in 2006. In this Act a child is anybody who has not completed fourteen years of age. The provisions of the Act are as follows-

Children are prohibited from working in hazardous occupations as mentioned in the Act. These include work as specified in catering, construction, transportation etc. The list of occupations are available in the Act attached herewith.
Part III of the Act highlights the working conditions to be maintained for children in those 
occupations that are permissible by law or not mentioned in Part II. Children cannot work
beyond three to six hour stretches depending on their age. They must get at least one off weekly and breaks from work at regular intervals. The employment of children should not in any way be a roadblock to their good health or education.
If there is a dispute regarding the age of a child, the employer has to inform an inspector who 
could send the child for a medical examination when a birth certificate in not available.
Employing children in hazardous occupations and under conditions not permisable by law is a
punishable offence. Part IV of the Act states the penalties and punishment for those who resort to Child Labour and exploitation of children.
Records of children employed should be maintained including their hours of work and remuneration.

To read the Act in detail, click here.

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