Child Protection Laws and Policies

All children could be put into the category of vulnerability at their young age and evolving curiosity to know about things and explore the things around themselves which can be a threat to them in some or the other way. They are weak and they cannot protect themselves and protect act for prevent themselves on what is going to come. They are open to home, abuse, pornography or any other violence which can hurt them either physically or emotionally and could be a hard truth for them to digest for their upcoming life.

They, themselves are not mature to make decisions about what they should do to protect themselves if they get stuck in in any off situation like that as they are not mature enough to ponder upon what is right for them and what is not?

Any person who has completed 18 years of his/her age can be considered as an adult and it is believed that they become mature enough to make their own decisions and could protect themselves as well if any such situation arises, to some extent. It is believed that a person of age more than 18 years is liable for his/her actions and should be e proportionate in order to protect themselves.

Where as a person who is below 18 years of age can be considered as a minor and false under the category of capacity of coming under Child Protection Act. To protect them from any harm and violence, Child Protection laws come into action to make sure safety, physical, emotional and mental well-being.

Child Protection laws are just the measures to protect children Child Protection laws are just the measures to protect children from situations or scenarios where they are prone to have any sort of violence and injury, either physically or mentally.

They ensure children’s protection from real-time danger and reduces or makes full situations disappear out of their lives. This is all done to ensure the protection of children against distress, social security, anxiety or mental unstability.

In India this Child Protection laws primary provisions or witnessed in Juvenile justice that is Care and Protection of Children Act 2015. It lays down different procedures like protection and care of child in relation procedures protecting children from sexual assault, sexual harassment, pornography and any other sexual offences.

The National Commission for child protection laws came into existence in 2007.

Child marriage

Bitter truth of our country is child marriage. Although it is declared as a crime, but still it is followed in different areas like villages, small towns, tribal areas and other backward areas. The legal age of marriage declared by law is 21 and 18 for men and women respectively. It is mentioned in the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 in 1978 and in Special Marriage Act 54 and the prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006. Child marriage has started in a very ancient time in history of India in 200 BC to 700 AD Young women and men had the Liberty to choose their partners and come into romantic relationships according to their convenience but as time passed after the middle age the rules and Society gradually changed and Child Marriage Act came into existence.

In Modern Times in India and other countries Child Marriage also known as early marriage is the forced marriage between two children opposite gender, lying under the age of 18. Not only India but in other countries like United States adults and children are forced to marry through emotional blackmail and theatre of abuse and even death. In India the highest child marriage ratio is of the state of Jharkhand. In the present time the status of child marriage in India has reduced the child marriage day show has reduced drastically people are spreading awareness all over the country through different means like theatre, movies, drama, novels and newspaper articles. All these actions are at last resulting in reduction of child marriages. [1]

Child labour

It is defined as a girl or a boy age below 14 years working in any factory or industry is known as child labour. In India and other countries child labour is considered as a crime. But it is still practiced just to increase the labour count in different industries and factories. In Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act of 1986 it is mentioned that children working below 14 years of age are considered under child labour and children from 15 to 17 years of age can work but not in hazardous factories and industries. And the total working time of children between 15to17 should be 10 hours per day including their schooling, transportation and working hours. According to the stats 1 in 10 children is a labour in today’s global economy. Major victims of child labour are the children of 5 to 17 years nearly half of them work in hazardous factories like crackers factory, chemical factories, and other hazardous industries. Child labour is basically practice because of poverty the people below poverty line encourage their children to go and work in factories and earn money for their living, And not only India other foreign countries are having the issue of Industries practicing child labour. The major and basic step of reducing child labour is child education the more the child would be educated the less he or she would need to work as a labour.

Child Trafficking

Child trafficking is considered as kidnapping of a child for any specific purpose, likewise making them slaves, transferring them illegally from one place to another or making forced labour out of them. It is part of human trafficking only full stop there is as such no place which is declared perfectly safe or not having the element of child trafficking in it but, there are some top list hot spots of it, where it is observed to happen frequently. Scene over the places where there is insufficient legislation, people being an educated or not being aware about the child trafficking nose. As it is an illegal act so it is done as covertly as it can be possible which makes it difficult for the authorities to track or maintain the track in order to ensure safety of the sufferer. There are some places where child trafficking is commonly seen and observed like, Latin America, Africa and Asia etc. It is a great threat and developing countries are more prone to separate. Even the babies who can barely talk, move or can ask for help for themselves are not safe in fact are more prone to get attacked by human traffickers. [2]They used them as sex workers, forced labours and even in some cases their organs are sold. Human traffickers use techniques like psychological manipulation, threats or any kind of physical force to make their plan come into action. They usually target the ones who are marginalised so that they can easily possess them and reduce their chances of being caught. The Immoral traffic (prevention) Act usually taken care air all about trafficking being done to minors for prostitution. This Act was enacted in 1956 in India. It declares the sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation either to a male or female an offence.

Child Abuse 

Most of us knows that child abusing is illegal, because they are vulnerable to any threat emotionally mentally and physically and are not in the position of protecting themselves in most of the cases. Still even after knowing what child abuse is many of us confuse it with the only verbal abusing and causing any physical harm to any child, which is not the absolute definition of the child abuse.

Child abuse basically means when the guardian, parent or the care taker whether intentionally or unintentionally causes any sort of harm or injury to a child either physically emotionally or mentally would be held liable for abusing a child. Any threat of injury, death, pressure, and even ignorance would fall under the category of child abuse. There are ten (10) commonly known types of child abuse and they are as follows:

1) Physical abuse

2) Domestic violence or abuse

3) Sexual abuse

4) Psychological or emotional abuse

5) Financial or material abuse

6) Modern slavery

7) Discriminatory abuse

8) Organizational or institutional abuse

9) Neglect or acts of omission

10) Self-neglect

These types have more sub division in themselves too. It is seen that children are often abused by family members, friends or relatives most of the time as they trust them and thinks that they can rely on them, for instance in many of the cases it is observed that people attract the children by giving them baits of their choice and abuse them sexually or mentally which becomes their worst nightmare for the whole upcoming life just to satisfy themselves for few moments.

The protection of children from sexual offenses or any other abuse, came into charge by 2012 to make sure that the children are safe and sound and to prevent them from any sort of sexual offense or any threat. Prevention of it can be ensured by educating the parents about the laws and all the types of the abuses and even the parents can ensure the prevention of it by keeping their relationship open with their child, understanding them, by not doing any such thing which would impact them negatively.[3]

Child pornography 

Child pornography is illegal and it is generally seen as the visual depiction of nudes or sexually exploiting a child. It is also called as child sexual abuse. Gradually this practice has increased in most of the developing countries like India with the increase in the technology.

People manipulate the children with various tactics specially who are less than the age of eighteen (18) years and manages to somehow involve the into child pornography and even tortures them to continue the process by blackmailing them over the period and harms them mentally and emotionally as well. There are three common possible ways of child pornography and that are as follow:

(1) Visual representation of child’s sexual parts either by videos, films or photos.

(2) Visual representation of child’s specific sexual parts for a purpose either by filming a video for it or getting pictures of it.

(3) Encouraging any child to explain or represent any sexual act can also be considered as part of it.

There are certain possible crimes that deals with child pornography and they are as follows:

(1) Make child pornography

(2) Print child pornography

(3) Publish child pornography

(4) Distribute child pornography

(5) Send child pornography

(6) Make child pornography available

(7) Sell child pornography

(8) Import child pornography

(9) Export child pornography

(10) Advertise child pornography

Internet service providers should be vigilant enough to report any such action as soon as possible they track it. It would not only save the life of one and get the wrong doers caught but it would save the life of many and would set an example for others as well.

There are certain provisions of punishing the wrong doers like if anyone is seen doing anything like printing, sending or getting involved into any of the child pornography then he could be sent to prison for fourteen years and the minimum punishment is one year. Protection of child from sexual offenses (POSCO) deals with defining the laws for the wrong doers and the judicious application of laws as well.[4]

India’s perspective

India has a wide range of Child Protection Act and laws in the constitution. It is taking great amount of efforts to reduce the child abuse violence and exploitation in India. The government has started many plans towards child protection.

The condition of children in our country has improved over a decade full stop the cases of child abuse harassment exploitation child trafficking child marriage child labour etc. full stop has reduced. India’s primary Child Protection provisions are found in the juvenile justice (care and protection of children) act 2015.

The government has taken steps to increase the awareness and educate the poor children who often get victim of crime like child harassment child abuse etc.

The government has launched various plans to make the children more aware of the crimes that can occur with them so that they could save themselves in near future. And crime like child labour is being stopped by conducting regular audits in the industry who are practicing child labour.

The biggest example is in 2003 5 girls from a small village in district Karnal manage to stop sale of two minors into marriage. Now a days there are many security services available for children under age of 18 to protect them from child abuse and other crimes.

India has a thought of that children are our country’s future and we have to protect them.[5]

Related Case Laws  

In the case of people Union of Democratic right vs Union of India, commonly also called as “Asian worker case”, is software example of child labour full stop it was escorted in the notice of the Supreme Court that children under age of 14 years are employed in in some construction activities.

It was then said that construction activity is simply a dangerous work and it is important that the employment of children above the 14 years of age must, definitely be restricted in every kind of construction tasks and activities.

According to Article 24, justice PN Bhagwati and Justice badrul had held that “apart from the need of International Labour Organisation convention number 59, we are having article 24, of the constitution that even if not attended aap by suitable legislation, must “Proprio vigore” and construction at simply and absolutely e is a hazardous employment, it is clear that background of constitutional provision no child under age of 14 years can be allowed or permitted to be available in construction works”.[6]

In in case of Budha Mukti Morcha v. Union of India and others, justice Bhagwati remark that it’s a problem will need urgent attention of the Indian Government and the state government and when the directive principles of state policies had obligated the central government and state government for taking steps and adopting measures for the purpose of ensuring Social Justice to have knots and the handicapped.

It is wrong on the part of the concerned governments to shut their eyes for the inhuman exploitation to which the bonded labour are a subject.

Therefore it is essential that which never be the state government it should where there is bonded labour admit such bonded labourers exercise and make all the possible efforts to eradicate the same.[7]

The case of Gururaj v. State of Karnataka, the petition was filed seeking anticipatory bail in crime number 336/ 2013 of Bijapur rural police station registered on 25. 12. 2013 for the punishable offence under section 9, 10 and 11 of child Marriage Restrain Act 1929.

Do the police has registered the case under the child marriage restraint act 1929 the provision cited by the police does not provide the punishment. However section 9 10 and 11 of prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2009 give punishment for solar sizing the marriage of a child with adult male person.

It is also seen in section 15 of the said provision of Child Marriage Act 2006 that an offence under the act are not available and therefore this application is maintainable.

As the punishment provided for this aforesaid offence is not exceeding 2 years and sins proviso under section 11 States that no woman shall be punishable with imprisonment for violation of this section.[8]

CONCLUSION 

This research article is to drawn an analysis on child protection las and policy. There are various types of offences which can be done to a child and it is believed that they cannot protect themselves being vulnerable mentally and physically, which put them I the situation of facing huge number of risks of many types likes child abuse, child pornography, child Labour and child marriage and what not. A proper drive should be done educating them and their parents so that they can not only get early warning signals to protect themselves but also help others to save their lives as well. As in many of the incidents it is observed that people use different tactics to make children under their control and ask them to do their dirty work. In most of the cases it is seen that, there is being wrongly influenced or kidnapped for such activities by any close one or from relatives only. Infants in such case are at high risk as they are not used to serve them when they grow up but also in many cases their organs are supplied to other parts of the countries as well. Any practice becomes the ritual when it is accepted by public at large or any community but firstly the reason behind it should be taken care off and discovered as in the case of child marriage, it got no relevance with it. As marriage comes with responsibilities how can a child take responsibility of another child when he, himself is not capable enough to take care of himself. These laws are made to ensure the decrease the probability of such kind of incidents to happen. Developing countries face such types of incidents more, but that does give a green signal that developed countries are safe, no they are not. One can only protect him/herself by such acts if they are vigilant enough and have the proper knowledge of what is wrong and right in general. Parents can ensure the prevention of at their open level by educating their child and being open to them so that their child can discuss with them if he or she faces any such problems.


[1] https://www.savethechildren.in/child-protection/understanding-child-abuse-and-importance-of-child-protection/#:~:text=It%20helps%20to%20reduce%20their,and%20emotional%20insecurity%20and%20distress.&text=Child%20Protection%20is%20relevant%20for,%2C%20and%20institutional%2F%20residential%20care

[2] https://liberatechildren.org/blog/where-does-child-trafficking-happen

[3] https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/adults/introduction/types-and-indicators-of-abuse

[4] https://educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/child-pornography/

[5] https://www.loc.gov/law/help/child-protection-law/india.php

[6] Case: Union of Democratic right vs Union of India, AIR 1982 SC 1473.

[7] Case: Budha Mukti Morcha v. Union of India and others, (1997) 10 SCC 549.

[8]Case: Gururaj v. State of Karnataka, CRIMINAL PETITION No.3179/2020.

Author: Gunit Shah from JIMS, Noida.

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