Out of tons of subjects and important topics missing from our Indian curriculum, laws are one of the most important.
Here are some laws each and every child needs to be aware of, regardless of all variable factors:
I LAWS AGAINST CHILD LABOUR
Children below 14 years of age – can work in family enterprise or entertainment industry as artists with certain conditions
Children between 14-18 years of age- cannot work in any factory, mine or any other hazardous setting, without exception
Children cannot be made to overwork or even work night shifts.
These laws are made clear in article 24 of the Indian constitution and acts that were passed in its pursuance.
II LAW AGAINST SEXUAL OFFENCES
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences(POCSO), amendment Bill 2019 protects children below 18 against:
- Sexual assault against children
- Child pornography
- Drugs being administered to them to bring about early sexual maturity
POCSO aims at making offences against children gender-neutral.
III ENSURING FREE AND COMPULSORY EDUCATION
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009, Article 21A of the Indian constitution, ensures free and compulsory education to everyone between 6 to 14 years of age. 25% of seats in all private institutions are reimbursed by the state to which kids are admitted based on economic status or caste-based reservations.
The Right to education of a specially enabled child (under 18 years of age) has separate legislation that is laid down under the Persons with Disability Act.
IV PROHIBITION OF CHILD MARRIAGE
Any marriage in which either the boy is under 21 or the girl is under 18, is child marriage.
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 serves the following purpose:
- Prevents child marriages
- Protects the children involved
- Prosecutes the offenders
Child marriages, under the above-mentioned act, are cognizable and non-bailable offences. This law also prescribes punishment for performing, conducting and abetting child marriage. Permitting or promoting these marriages by the parents of a child is punishable.
POCSO penalizes penetrative sexual assault on a child by anyone related to the child through marriage
Section 375IPC penalizes sexual acts with a girl below 18 years of age, with or without her consent.
V LAWS AGAINST TRAFFICKING
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill of 2018 addresses this crime affecting mostly children and women.
This bill addresses:
- Aggravated trafficking for forced labour
- Trafficking by administering chemical substances or hormones for the purpose of early sexual maturity
- Trafficking for marrying, under the ploy of marriage or after marriage.
- Promotion or facilitation of such crimes
So these were some of the children specific laws other basic laws such as the right to equality, right to life, right against discrimination etc. should also be taught to children.
Here are some of the basic ways we can spread awareness:
- Including basic laws and fundamental rights in school textbooks.
- Making young parents aware of the laws.
- Workshops, seminars, etc. in educational institutions.
- Including them in cartoon shows and podcasts for children.
To all the parents reading this, ensure your child is safe and comfortable and make them aware of all the laws to ensure their well-being.
To all the children reading this,
If you’re being hurt in any manner, verbal abuse, beatings, bad touch, not being provided with essentials or absolutely anything that is making you feel uncomfortable, REPORT.
Here are some of the few actions you can take:
Tell a trusted adult, your parents, grandparents, school counsellors or teachers. You can also tell a friends’ parent, or any other adult you trust.
Don’t have an adult you trust, don’t worry as there is support available, you can always call childline number 1098.
As a child being harassed, you might be threatened to stay mum, but it’s important you raise your voice.
If you think any of your friends or someone you know is being abused or suffering in any manner, you should tell your parents or teachers.
Child-friendly mechanisms are used in all stages of your case and you don’t ever need to hesitate to report when something unfair is happening to you. You don’t deserve that ordeal.