The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 is one the most debated acts related to children in India. It outlines where and how children can work and where they should not. The provisions of the act are meant to be acted upon instant after the publication of the act, except for part III that discusses the conditions in which a child may work. Part III can only come into effect as per a date allocated by the Central Government (which was decided as 26th of May, 1993).
The act says a child as any person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age. Part II of the act exempt 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 nears the tracks, plastics factories, automobile garages, etc. The act also exempts 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. These acts do not apply to a workshop where the occupier is working with the help of his family or in a government recognized or aided school.
PROHIBITION OF EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN IN CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS AND PROCESSES:
No child shall be employed or allowed to work in any of the following occupations
- Transport of passengers, goods; or mails by railway
- Cinder picking, clearing of an ash pit or construction operation in the railway premise.
- Job in a catering establishment at a railway station, involving the movement of a vendor or any other employee of the establishment from one platform to another or into or out of a moving train.
- Job relating to the construction of a railway station or with any other work where such work is done in close proximity to or between the railway lines.
- The port authority within the areas of any port.
Violations under Section-3 shall be punishable with jail which shall not be less than three months which may extend to one year or with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or with both. Continuing offense under section (3) shall be punishable with jail for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to two years. Any other violations under the Act shall be punishable with simple jail, which may extend to one month or with fine, which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.