Children are the future citizens of a country, contributing eventually to its development and prosperity. But, children are also the vulnerable stakeholders in a society and are subjects for easy targets. The Indian constitution and the law body have introduced and executed many laws to protect the rights of children and give them a secure and fair society to live in. This Republic Day, let us be aware of some of these laws, to do our bit to safeguard the interest of our children.
Constitution of India’s primary responsibility is to ensure that all the needs of the children are met and that their basic human rights are fully protected. We are entitled to know our country’s law and rights. The need for it might arise at any hour. Mentioned below are some laws that one can reach out to, to rescue a child in need:
Article 21 A of the Constitution of India says that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children within the age of 6 and 14.
Article 24 of the Constitution of India protects children below the age of 14 from working in factories and hazardous jobs.
Under Section 366 (A), procurement/ sexual harassment of a minor girl below 18 years of age is an offence.
The Indian Penal Code, 1860, states that sexual intercourse with a girl-child under 16 years of age, even with her consent, constitutes an offence of rape under Section 375 of the IPC.
Under Section 372 and 373 of the IPC, selling/buying of minor girls below 18 years of age for purposes of prostitution, etc., is an offence.
The Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 prohibits cruelty to children. The law does not excuse teachers and parents and they are liable for assaulting or exposing a juvenile to unnecessary forms of punishment.
Using excessive force and punishing a child for a cause that is not justifiable is prohibited under the section 89 of the IPC.
For special treatment under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, the age is 18 for both boys and girls. It is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to juveniles in conflict with the law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their development needs, and by adopting a child-friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children and for their ultimate rehabilitation through various institutions established under this enactment.
Article 47 provides the right to nutrition and standard of living and improved public health.
Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy provides for free and compulsory education for all children until their complete the age of 14.
Article 39 (e) of the Directive Principles of State Policy provides that children of tender age should not be abused and that they should not be forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age or strength.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Bill (2006) enhanced the punishment for those who were involved in child abuse and child marriage activities.
CHILDLINE 1098 service
Every child has rights but is incapable to claim them due to age constraints. Unfortunately, children are subjected to unpleasant conditions and many a times, it is the fear of judicial system or lack of knowledge about procedures and legal interventions that prevents children from being rescued.
CHILDLINE is an emergency helpline for children in need of care and protection. It is toll-free and operational for 24 hours. Similar to the 911 facility of the US, this helpline deals with child centric issues.
With more than 150 call centres, this helpline receives more than 2 million calls annually across India. They reach out to children who are in need of safety and attention with the help of NGO’s, Government organizations and tying up with allied systems like the media, education, healthcare, police, etc.