DATE-10 DECEMBER, 1996


    FACTS- Landmark Judgment on child labour

    This case filed by M.C Mehta the petition filed for the protection of children in hazardous industries. The right guaranteed under article 24 and other articles were violated on the ground of exploitation of children at work place by employing in explosive and hazardous industries.

    Article 45 of chapter V of the constitution that empowers the state to provide free education to children, violated by appointing children to hazardous industries related to mines and other explosives.

    Sivakasi , a city in Tamil Nadu, tops the list by employing the children and violating the rights guaranteed under article 45 of the constitution i.e. By not providing education to children that works hazardous industries, depriving the children right to education.

    The matter in concerned bought to the court by invoking article 32 of the constitution that guarantees every citizen right to approach Supreme Court by infringing fundamental right guaranteed under the constitution.

    Sivakasi registered 221 industries of match factories, employees 2941 children as working in such industries, to earn a living mostly these children were only bread earner in their family. However, court enacted that the children working in match and fire workers factory are hazardous to health.

    This felt the court to urge the urgent need to establish a committee, to know the real condition, consequences the poor, marginalized children faced while working in such industries.

    The committee submitted its recommendation, that’s effectively improvised the condition of working children in hazardous industries. The recommendations are listed below

    The government must ensure strict protection. So that to ensure, child under the age of 14 years is not allowed work in factories prone to more risk to health and safety.

    The children must be given a separate area of working away from hazardous chemicals and risky areas, such as areas related to hazardous match boxing factories, and provide work only in packing department.

    The time period of children to engage in working activities must be fixed to 6 hours per day.

    The government must ensure proper travelling facilities to children working in factories; so that they can travel safely from home to workplace must be protected from theft, rape, assault or sexual harassment like activities.

    Every children have equal right to education so no child must be debarred from the basic education, the children working in factories must provides with education at distant nearby area or in factory itself.

    Children working in industries must have access to food that must be served in factories or by the government schools during lunch time by under the scheme of mid day meal to children in schools.

    The payment must be given to children on monthly so that at the end of the month they can do some savings.

    The children working in industries must be protected by providing insurance schemes to such children.

    Welfare fund- the committee recommends establishing a committee of retired judge in sivakasi area that must be answerable to humble court.

    Every employer must deposited rupees 2 per month towards this welfare scheme and such must be compulsorily a part of both registered and unregistered industries.

    A national commission for children welfare must enacted so, that to abolish children from working in hazardous industries.

    Along with Tamil Nadu many other states to employee under aged children in harzardeous industries, the condition of children remains the same. Such as Mandsour in Madhya Pradesh, power loom in Bhiwandi, along with Fizorajabad Uttar Pradesh and handicraft industry in Jammu and Kashmir.


    Article 24- no child below the age of 14 allowed to work in industries prone to risk taking factors including the hazardous industries in mines or explosive industries that involves risk to health and life.

    Article 39(f)- children must be given good health conditions, good environment to grow fully mentally and physically, any risk to health and life of the children is the risk to the society, such health issues must be protected from exploitation and conserved by the national government.

    Article 45- article 45 provides every child below the age of 14 to provide free and compulsory education to all the children at free of cost. The basic right is for all the children irrespective of any caste, creed, sex or discrimination.


    The International Organization (ILO) works to eradicate the exploitation of children and workers working in industries.

    It works to protect the child by prohibiting the child labor.

    It must protect the child working in factories during the time of working.

    It must protect the child by eliminating the main cause of child labor, such as poverty, financial and economical crises, and no bread earner other than child.

    ILO helps to protect the child by providing the future means by emphasizing on future means of earning that includes training programmes. Such as computer training, mobile repairing, making joys or furniture for government programs, clay utensils or repairing machines.

    It aims at protecting the children whose both parents employed and self efficient in maintaining the basic essential needs food, water, shelter, clean air and sleep in such conditions there is no need to employ children for working, such children must be strictly prohibited be employ in industries.


    Whereas, UN general assembly on 26th November, 1989. The conventions aim at providing protection to child and brought them peaceful environment to grow and develop completely mentally and physically. It protects the social economical and political rights of the children.

    The government of India, party to the UN convention, implements section 32 of UN convention. Article 32 states that those states sign the UN convention must be instructed to implement this article.

    Child must be protected from exploitation and must work to implement to improve the health, such as mental, physical health, moral and social development of children.

    The state, must take the help of legislative and administration so that every children must get access to education, for that effective measures must be taken by the state.

    The age limit must be fixed.

    Working hours must be fixed.

    Penalties and conviction to those persons involves in employing children in hazardous industries or immoral activities.


    The Supreme Court decided that matter to be sorted by appropriate government, as instructed to pay a sum of rupees 5000 per month in hazardous industries, but jobs must not be provided under aged children.

    The court ordered to exchange the job of child with an adult, as mentioned by the parents or guardians to work on behalf of minor children, providing the jobs to such adults in lieu of child, or to deposits the money of Rs 25000 in child worker rehabilitation cum welfare fund


    Survey must be conducted within 6 months on child worker.

    The hazardous industries must be ranked; the most hazardous industries must be ranked first in the list. If the industries is most prone to hazardous activities such industries strictly prohibits children from working.

    The direction must be given to reduce the ratio of child worker.

    The child employed must be provided with manual work in public undertaking companies, the place of employment and residence of children must not be far in distance.

    The parents/ guardian of children must be ensured with income given to them every month by the government of rupees 85000 per month to unemployed children but such benefit given to those children who left their jobs and taken admissions in school otherwise the certain amount would ceased off from the account.

    Article 45 gives right to all the children to get education for free till attains the age of 14 years, such education provided by the government for free.

    Proper monitoring must be needed by ministry of labour by appointing the secretary of department to do the work.

    The secretary of ministry labour allowed submitting the report within 1 year, if the petitioner wants to add on anything in report, petitioner allowed to make alternatives in report.

    It is directed that strict penal statutory must be implemented to reduce the number of cases on child labour.

    Inspector In charge duty is to look after the working hours of working children, must not be exceed to 6 hours a day and compulsory education of 2 hours to working children. Such duty must be laid down by the employer to pay the expenses incurred on education of children working under the supervision of employer.


    Indian government took matter very seriously by implementing the strict acts to prohibits child laboring in India that includes section 24 of plantation labour act, 1948; section 67 of factories act, 1948; section 109 of merchant shipping act, 1951; section 45 of mines act 1952; section 21 of motor transport workers act, 1961; section 24 of bedi and cigar workers act, 1966.

    Under section 17, of child labour (prohibition and regulation) act, 1986 the person convicted under this act must pay a sum of rupees 20,000 to those children suffered, or such amount taken by the child rehabilitation-cum-welfare funds such amount must be given to children either monthly or annually.

    No child must be deprived from free and compulsory education, every child in India allowed to get free education up to class 6th.

    The administration must play a crucial role to eliminate child labour in our country by applying fines and strict punishment in all states.

    The matter related to children health cannot be taken lightly, it must ensure safety of working children in factories and protecting them from rape, sexual assault, theft, kidnapping and abduction by not shifting them in night shift, by providing transport facility and appointing a committee to maintain quick check in industries.


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