Legal Article

Supreme Court on child labour in India

Shivendra Pratap Singh


High Court Lucknow


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Published on: 25 Mar, 2023

The Supreme Court of India has taken a strong stance on the issue of child labour in the country, recognizing it as a violation of fundamental rights and calling for strict enforcement of laws to eradicate the practice. Here are some of the key decisions of the Court:

  1. M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu (1991): In this case, the Supreme Court banned the employment of children under the age of 14 in hazardous industries such as matchstick manufacturing and carpet weaving. The Court held that the health and safety of children must be protected and that education must be made accessible to all children.
  2. People’s Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India (1982): In this case, the Supreme Court held that children have the right to be protected against economic exploitation and that the government has a duty to ensure that children are not subjected to labour that is harmful to their health and development.
  3. Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India (2011): In this case, the Supreme Court directed the government to implement the provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which mandates free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of 6 and 14. The Court also directed the government to identify and rescue children who are working as child labourers and to provide them with rehabilitation and education.
  4. People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights v. State of Bihar (1996): In this case, the Supreme Court directed the government to take effective steps to eradicate child labour and to provide compensation to children who have been victims of labour exploitation.

These decisions by the Supreme Court demonstrate the Court’s commitment to protecting the rights of children and eradicating the practice of child labour. The Court has called for the strict enforcement of laws and the implementation of programs to ensure that all children have access to education and are protected from exploitation.


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