File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

The Silent Plights: Exploring the Interconnection between Child Labor and Child Marriage

Although the definition of child labor varies depending upon social , economic, and environmental factors but generally it refers to that child who have engaged themselves in paid or unpaid employment. The exploitation of child through various forms of work which deprives a child from his childhood is child labor in simple terms. The child under 14 years dealing with any industrial or non industrial occupations , not only impact the mental ,physical or moral development but it also hamper their social progress in a long run.

The problems relating to child labor is alarming more particularly in developing and under developed countries. India is one among the third world countries where the Child labor cases are found on large scale. It is said that roughly out of 5 children below age of 14 years, one child is laborer that means 20% children are laborers out of total number of child population in the country. As per the census 1971, the total number of working children in India was 10.7million. In 1981 , the cases increased up to 13.6 million. However it got reduced in the census 1991 showing the data of 11.28 million.

As per 1971 census , the extent of child workers below 15 years of age was about 4.7% of the total child population and 5.9% of the total labor force.

According to World Bank Survey , 15 million child workers were estimated in India in 1975. The I.L.O estimated that 52 million children aged less than 15 years were working in 1978-1979. But such figure by I.L.O is not accurate because it covers only those children who have fixed job and exclude others who work on occasional basis. Like those who both work and go to school are neglected.

If we go through the data within the different states of India, Andhra Pradesh had the highest number of child labor cases of 1.66 million working children in 1991 , followed by 1.4 million in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Of all the states and union Territories, Lakshadweep has the smallest number of only 34 working children in the same year.

Keeping in view the tremendous growth of cases of child labor, government of India had ratified sic I.L.O conventions and enacted several laws for the protection of children from economic exploitation and from any work that is likely to be hazardous to their health and social development. Indian constitution also consists of different provisions relating to the eradication of such problem.

Like Article 39 and Article 45 clearly says that child should be given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity as well as free and compulsory education to all within 14 years of age.

Besides this there are several enactments as below:
  • Factories Act, 1948
  • The Mines Act, 1952
  • The Motor transport workers ,Act 1961
  • Plantation labor Act 1951 etc.

These conversation deals mainly with the 4 matters:
  1. Minimum age for employment of children
  2. Medical examination
  3. Maximum hours of work
  4. Prohibition of night work for children

These Acts prohibits employment of a child below 14 years but children above that age can be employed subject to certain restrictions. These also provides for creches to be established by the employer in factories for the use of children under 6 years of age. These restrictions are for the betterment and wellbeing of a child including their physical health. So, the legislature has duly kept in view the welfare of child labor and prohibits employment of children below a certain age in different occupations.

However Indian laws have a great deficiency as compared to international conventions because of economic backwardness and lack of educational facilities. Also the different ages fixed for different occupations in India are also lower than that of international standards. Moreover we do not have laws relating to agriculture labor , medical examination of children in non industrial occupations and establishment which are not industries or factories.

So, child labor exists in unorganized society' like agriculture, restaurants , manufacturing establishments of wool and carpets etc. at large scale as compared to organized sectors. According to Delhi Municipal Corporation survey of 1974 , there were 48000 children in the age group of 6to 11 who were not attending the primary schools which is a keen factors for the growth of cases related to child labor. If we have to diminish such problem, there is a necessity of total revolution in the field of social , economic and education.

Child labor is a social evil which has been entrenched in long traditions , history and beliefs. Though different laws have been incorporated to avoid such evil but the cannot change human nature and the behavior patterns in which a person developed and flourished. So, there is little impact of such laws to curb such things but we can't say that laws should cease to operate. Whatever may be the impact of law is better than having no impact in absence of such laws.

There is a solution to this problem as well that is if we have to make some law related to social issues, there are other things which are to be taken care of like enactments of other laws, enforcement procedure, social and economic welfare measures and change in entire socio economic environment. In the absence of such measures there may arise several problems like we face in case of child labor.

The I.L.O. has emphasized that the problem of child labor cannot be solved only through legislations because child labor is that phenomenon which we can't place in isolation like other social Issues.

if we say child should be prohibited from practicing any activity which is satisfying his daily needs , we have to set up some mechanism or some alternatives which would help him in daily basis.

If we talk of reasons of child labor, there are numerous like lack of education. It has been seen in many far flung areas of a country schooling facilities are scarce and in accessible. Many children are forced to work because they do not afford as such money which is required for their educational expanses. There is necessity for early training in order to get job to sustain their living in poor families.

Though different enactments have been passed by legislature to redress child labor issues but their enforcement procedure is very weak because of lack of adequate inspection.

Due to which adverse affects have been followed:
  1. The physical facilities at the work place is very poor. It been seen that more than 50% of the establishments have no rest place, medical and recreational facilities. This would have great impact to their health and wealth as well.
  2. The NIPCCD (National Institute Of Public Cooperation And Development) study reveals that children worked for long hours and the average was 8.86 hours per day.
  3. It has been also seen that in some areas children are employed under the most dirty and unhealthy surroundings.
  4. No medical certificates are provided neither by parents not by the employer as is directed by the legislature.

So there are various disadvantages of child labor like it results into physical, mental even sexual abuse. It also deprives a child to live with dignity and liberty which are the fundamental rights of an individual . It deprives a child from schooling and his childhood to a great extent.

Although child labor is having so many disadvantages but I.L.O has recognized some advantages of child labor as well like child who is busy in carrying out his different works he would be protected from committing different crimes , marginal cultures of streets and also to some extent he may not become a delinquent.

NIPCCD study also reveals that if the Act is strictly implemented , it is the child who would suffer ultimately because he would become jobless as no alternative is available. The strict rules are hard to be implemented but there are certain measures which are to be taken to relax this issue in some ways. These ways include removal of poverty, access of education and recreational facilities to children.

Child marriage is a violation of children's rights be it girl or a boy. It deprives a child from the basic rights of education, health , freedom from abuse and exploitation. Though the convention on Rights of the Child and UNICEF defines a child as a person below 18 years meaning thereby it protects both girl and a boy. But it is the girl who faces major problems after being married without her consent. She may face domestic violence, abuse and even marital rape. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood and limits her opportunities as well as affects badly her health.

According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, there must be free and full consent to marriage and this standard is not met when a person is not mature enough to make an informed decision. Child marriage is widely prevalent in India despite various enactments being made. According to UNICEFs state of the world's children 2009 Report , 40% of world child marriages occur in India.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006) has fixed the age of 18 and 21 for boys and girls respectively, but still such cases are prevalent in India. This shows people have become sensitized about different laws which regulates the child marriage in India. No doubt there are lacunas because all the cases are not reported as people seem it quite natural.

It has been seen that of all the states of India , Bihar contributes to the 64% of the total child marriages followed by Rajasthan and Jharkhand. Where as Himachal Pradesh has least rate of cases of child marriages. This issue is mostly found in rural and uneducated areas as compared to urban or educated areas.

Despite different international and national conventions, the problem related to child marriage has not been eradicated. Because there are various reasons responsible for it like

One such reason is lack of enforcement of provisions and lack of awareness of provisions among people.

There are other reasons which are attached to it:
  1. Child marriage has a sole connection with poverty. Poor families do not afford to support healthy environment particularly to girls. Thus they ignore such responsibility by forcing their daughters to go for marriage which deprives them from education and also affects their health by premature pregnancies.
  2. There may be societal traditions or norms which forced people to follow in order to maintain social setup.
  3. Caste based marriages have a great role to make such marriages possible.
According to WHO report , women between age of 15 to 19 are at higher risk of violence than older women. The UNICEF Report 2009, 47% of India's women aged 20-24 were married before the legal age of 18, rising to 56% in rural areas.

According to International Centre for research on women, India is the 14th highest country in the world where rate of child labor is maximum.

The issue of child marriage is such that UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution in September 2011 which is designated as international day of the girl child where in the theme for the resolution was, "to end child marriages". Further UN and UNICEF has worked with different communities to raise the age of marriages and address gender discrimination through awareness programs.

In order to make such provisions effective, certain measures should be taken at local level as well . People who are involved in the marriage like one who prints the wedding invitation cards , one who performs the rituals of marriage or any person who is directly or indirectly connected to such thing should take steps to investigate and verify the age of bride or a groom. Moreover awareness among the people is the most important factor which shall transform and reform any Society.

Written By: Daima Khanam, 6th Semester, Central University Of Kashmir

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly