Article 24

Prohibition of employment of children in factories etc

Article 24 of the Constitution prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age in factories and hazardous employment. This provision is certainly in the interest of public health and safety of the lives of children. Children are assets of a nation. That is why Article 39 of the Constitution imposes upon the State an obligation to ensure that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of the children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength.

Laws that were passed in pursuance of Article 24 in India

The Factories Act, 1948

  • This was the first act passed after independence to set a minimum age limit for the employment of children in factories. 
  • The Act set a minimum age of 14 years. In 1954, this Act was amended to provide that children below the age of 17 could not be employed at night.

The Mines Act of 1952

  • This Act prohibits the employment of people under the age of 18 years in mines.

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986

  • This was a landmark law enacted to curb the menace of child labour prevalent in India. It described where and how children could be employed and where and how this was forbidden. 
  • This Act designates a child as a person who has not completed his/her 14th year of age. The 1986 Act prohibits the employment of children in 13 occupations and 57 processes.

Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016

  • This Act completely forbids the employment of children below 14 years of age. It also bans the employment of people between the ages of 14 and 18 in hazardous occupations and processes. 
  • Punishments to violators of this law were made stricter by this amendment act. This Act allows children to be employed in certain family occupations and also as artists.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017

  • The government notified the above Rules in 2017 to provide a broad and specific framework for prevention, prohibition, rescue, and rehabilitation of child and adolescent workers. 
  • The Rules clarified on issues concerning the employment of family enterprises and also provides safeguards for artists in that the working hours and conditions are specified.
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