STATUS OF CHILDREN IN OUR SOCIETY WITH PROVISIONS OF CONSTITUTION
India being the second largest populated country in the world has a huge number of children. The population of children in India is approximately 35 million of the total population. Poverty often cited as the most common ground for the violation of the rights of children in India. The violation in terms of their right to get education, healthy environment to live, basic medical facility, right to get proper food, etc.
The first step to fulfil the rights of children can be found in the constitution of India. The best constitution in the world, even 71 years back have addressed the various needs of society and mainly for weaker section of society. The main article which addresses the needs of children is given below, which is divided into two parts. First and for most, the basic fundamental rights and second is given in directive principles of the state policy.
- Article 14: the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of law within the territory of India
- Article 15: the state shall not discriminate against any citizen. Nothing this article shall prevent the state from making any special provision for women and children
- Article 21: no person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to procedure established by law
- Article 21A: the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years in such manner as the state may by law determine.
- (Article 21A was added in the constitution by 86th amendment on 13 December 2002. Provides The call to provide the right to education until the age of fourteen and early childhood care until the age of six, comes an important move in the amendment. Earlier, there wasn’t any amendment to help recognize the need for educational rights for children.)
- Article 23: traffic in human beings and beggary and other forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law
- Article 24: no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
Directive principles of state policy
Article 39(e) and (f):
(e) : the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and the citizens are nor forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;
(f)that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in the condition of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
Provision for free and compulsory education for children: the state shall endeavour to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of this constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.
Article 47 :
duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health- the State regard the raising of level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medical purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to Health
CHILD RELATED LEGISLATIONS
- THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCE ACT 2012
- THE RIGHT OF CHILDREN TO FREE AND COMPULSORY EDUCATION ACT 2009
- JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION ) ACT 2000
- CHILD LABOUR ACT AMENDMENT 2006
- PRE-NATAL DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES ACT 2006
- PROHIBITION OF CHILD MARRIAGE ACT 2006
- IMMORAL TRAFFIC PREVENTION ACT 1986
- GUARDIANS AND WARDS ACT 1890
CHILD RELATED POLICIES
- THE NATIONAL POLICY FOR CHILDREN 2013
- NATIONAL POLICY FOR CHILDREN 1974
- NATIONAL POLICY FOR EDUCATION 1986
- NATIONAL POLICY FOR CHILD LABOUR 1987
- NATIONAL NUTRITION POLICY 1993
- NATIONAL HEALTH POLICY 2002
- NATIONAL CHARTER FOR CHILDREN 2003
CASE LAW RELATED WITN CHILD
- C. MEHTA V. STATE OF TAMIL NADU &ORS 1996 SUPREME COURT
(ONE OF THE LANDMARK JUDGEMENT ON CHILD LABOUR VARIOUS GUIDELINES WERE LAID DOWN BY SUPREME COURT FOR PROTECTION OF CHILD RIGHTS )
- AJIT STATE OF HARYANA 2013 HARYANA HIGH COURT
(BAIL OF JUVENILE )
- SOCIETY FOR UN-AIDED PRIVATE SCHOOL OF RAJASTHAN UNION OF INDIA AND ANR. 2012 SUPREME COURT.
(RIGHT TO FREE EDUCATION )
- CHHOTA BAHI MUNNA BHAI & CO. STATE OF U.P AND ANR. 1998 ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT
(CHILD LABOUR PROHIBITION ®ULATION ACT)
- SRIRAMA BABU V. THE CHIEF SECRETARY 1997 KARNATAKA HIGH COURT
(CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHILD LABOUR)
- BACHPAN BACHAO ANDOLAN UNION OF INDIA AND ORS 2011 SUPREME COURT.
(CHILDREN IN EXPLOITATIVE LABOUR BONDAGE SERVITUDE)
- CHILDLINE INDIA FOUNDATION & ANR. ALAN JOHN WATERS & ORS 2011 SUPREME COURT
(CHILDREN RESIDING IN SHELTER HOMES WERE SEXUALLY EXPLOITED BY THOSE WHO ARE RUNNING THESE HOMES)
- PUBLIC AT LARGE THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA & ORS 1997 BOMBAY HIGH COURT.
(MINOR GIRLS WERE ILLEGALLY CONFINED WERE FORCED TO BE SEX WORKERS)
- GUDDO STATE OF U.P 2017 ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT
(CHILD KIDNAPPED FOR SEXUAL OFFENCE
- BACHPAN BACHAO &ORS V UNION OF INDIA & ORS 2010 DELHI HIGH COURT
(CHILD TRAFFICKING )
EDUCATION AND FOOD TWO MAIN RIGHTS OF CHILDREN
Education and food remain two main rights of children, free education is a fundamental right but various failure on part of state government as well as on central government leads to a very high rate of illiteracy among children.
60% or more girls are dropped out before completing their 5 years of primary education (2010 census India). The same goes for food, every child must have proper food and nutrition to lead a healthy life. The government has taken various imitative to provide food for children in ways of MID-DAY meals, etc. but even mid-day meals policy failed at may stages, either due to less nutrition food or due to scams. Again this leads to malnutrition and its effect nearly half of all children under age five in India.
ABOLITION OF CHILD MARRIAGE AND CHILD LABOUR
The condition of child labour was worst in the nineties and still prevalent in these years also. Many initiatives were taken by the government as well as by NGOs to create awareness in society for Anti-child labour.
Child labour an estimated 12.67 million children engaged in hazardous occupation (2010 census India.
CURRENT STATUS OF CHILDREN IN OUR SOCIETY
Children in the entertainment industry continue to be frighteningly unprotected, with no safety measures in place and are prone to exploitation by both parents and producers. Even though the government has mandated that a child cannot shoot for more than 4 hours a day. Children in the industry work 12 to 20 hours daily.
NO CHILD IS SAFE TODAY: with regards to child safety today, both boys and girls are not safe, so it has to be made mandatory for parents to teach them about good and bad touch.
Indians, unfortunately’ have always found it difficult to view children as independent identities and that sensitivity is required in dealing with them.
Psychiatrist Harish Shetty has counselled many children who have faced rejection. He said, its double whammy for children who have faced failure in life. Firstly the shame of failure reinforced by their parents who have illogical aspirations. This hurts the child the most as children need a safety net where he or she can go while down and out for them it id their parents.
FAILURE ON THE PART OF STATE
Our constitution prohibits human trafficking and successive government have formulated laws intended to tackle it, with the primary legislative tool being the immoral traffic (prevention) act 1956, however, those laws are either weak or inadequately enforced. Children vulnerability and exposure to a violation of their rights remain widespread and multiple in nature.
But the real cause of worry in UNIFEM’s report which says that 40%of INDIAN POLICE officer is unaware of child trafficking problem. However due to the constant campaign by NGO’s supported by international agencies (such as MISERIOR, BREAD FOR THE WORLD, CHRISTIAN AID, OXFAM, CARITAS DANIDA, ETC)
INFANT MORTALITY- infant mortality is as high as 63 death per 1000 live birth. Most infant deaths occur in the first month of life, up to 47%in the first week itself.
HIV/AIDS- IT is estimated 22000 children infected by HIV/AIDS AND 55000 TO 60000 children are born every year to mother who has HIV POSITIVE without treatment these newborns stand an estimated 30% chance of becoming infected due to mother’s pregnancy labour or through breastfeeding after six months.
Blog is written by-
NUZHAT JAHAN ANSARI,
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