Child Protection Laws in India

Law
01-Feb-2023
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Child protection laws in India aim to ensure children's safety, welfare also rights of children. The Indian legal system recognizes the importance of protecting children and has established several laws to ensure their well-being. These laws address child sexual abuse, child labor, child trafficking, and child marriage.

Despite the existence of these laws, the implementation and enforcement of these laws still need to be improved in India. This article will examine the child protection laws in India and the challenges faced for their implementation. 

These laws and policies aim to protect children from various forms of abuse, exploitation, and neglect and provide for the punishment of perpetrators. They also establish institutions and mechanisms for the protection and welfare of children, including child welfare committees, special juvenile police units, and rehabilitation and reintegration programs.

Guardians and Wards Act 1890

The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 governs the appointment of guardians for minors in India, regardless of their religion, but considering their personal laws where applicable. The Act outlines the responsibilities of guardians in terms of the care of the minor's person and property, with the child's welfare being the primary consideration in any court proceedings.

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (Amended in 1986), 1956

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956, as amended in 1986, is an Indian law that criminalizes the procurement of minors for prostitution and the operation of brothels. The Act provides punishment for those found guilty of these crimes and includes provisions for protecting and caring for rescued children.

The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Amendment Act 2000

The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Amendment Act 2000, commonly known as the PCPNDT Act, is an Indian law aimed at preventing sex-selective abortions and preserving the girl child. The Act regulates pre-natal diagnostic techniques and prohibits their misuse for sex determination. The Act imposes strict penalties for non-compliance, including imprisonment and fines. The Act also establishes regulatory bodies at the national and state level to monitor its implementation.

Despite the Act's provisions, the practice of sex-selective abortions continues to be a widespread problem in India, and law enforcement remains a challenge. The PCPNDT Act is an important component of the larger framework of child protection laws in India, as it seeks to address the issue of gender discrimination and promote gender equality.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, is an Indian law that protects children from sexual abuse and exploitation. The Act defines various sexual offenses against children, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assault, sexual harassment, and children's use for pornographic purposes. The Act provides stringent punishment for those guilty of committing these offences, including imprisonment and fines. It also places a significant responsibility on the police to protect children during the investigative process.

The Act requires police personnel to make immediate arrangements for the care and protection of the child in case of a report of sexual abuse. This includes obtaining emergency medical treatment and placing the child in a shelter home if necessary. The Act also mandates the police to inform the Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours of receiving the report to ensure further arrangements for the safety and security of the child. It also provides for the medical examination of the child in a manner that causes as little distress as possible and requires the examination to be carried out in the presence of a trusted person and, in the case of female children, by a female doctor.

The Act also establishes special courts to ensure speedy trials and mandates the appointment of special public prosecutors. It provides for the protection, care, and rehabilitation of child victims and witnesses. Additionally, It has provisions for the protection of the child's identity and the prohibition of the media from disclosing any information that may lead to the identification of the child.

The POCSO Act is a comprehensive law that seeks to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation and provides the necessary legal framework to address these issues.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 is an Indian law that guarantees the right of every child to free and compulsory education till the age of 14. This provides free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 and 14 years and mandates the state to ensure the availability of and access to quality education for all children in the country. This Act recognizes that education is a fundamental right and aims to reduce the drop-out rate and improve the quality of education in India.

Under the RTE Act, the government must provide school infrastructure and facilities, including classrooms, toilets, and drinking water facilities. The Act also mandates the appointment of trained teachers and the provision of pedagogical resources. It creates a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions to protect child rights to monitor the implementation of the Act.

The RTE Act has the potential to significantly improve access to and quality of education for children in India. However, the Act's implementation could have been faster and more adequate, and many children remain deprived of their right to education. The government must take active steps to ensure the effective implementation of the RTE Act and provide all children with the opportunity to receive a quality education.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is an Indian law that provides for the care, protection, and rehabilitation of children in conflict with the law or in need of care and protection. The Act replaces the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, and provides a child-friendly approach to administering justice for children. The Act provides for establishing Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees to deal with cases involving children in conflict with the law or needing care and protection. It also provides for establishing special homes, observation homes, and after-care organizations to provide care and protection to children. This Act lays down guidelines and procedures for the adoption of children, with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) serving as the nodal body for the same. The Act also aims to ensure that the best interests of the child are upheld throughout the adoption process.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is an important step towards protecting and rehabilitating children in India. The effective implementation of the Act is essential to ensure that children are treated with dignity and allowed to lead productive life.

The Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005

The Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of India that provides for the constitution of a National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) to ensure the rights of children as guaranteed under the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Act mandates the commissions to investigate and monitor the violation of child rights and to take suo moto cognizance of any matter related to child rights.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

Laws related to child marriage in india prohibits child marriage until the minimum age of 21 for males and 18 for females is reached. It applies to every religion. Child marriage is not permitted by the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, along with matters related to it or incidental to it.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986prohibits the employment of children under 14 in certain hazardous occupations and processes. It regulates the working conditions of children in other occupations. It provides a penalty for employers who violate the Act's provisions and empowers the government to inspect any premises to enforce the Act's provisions. It has been amended several times to include more hazardous occupations in the list and to increase the penalties for violating the Act's provisions. Learn Child Labour laws in India.