Child Labour

Things to know…

  1. Children below the age of fourteen years are prohibited to work in the occupations and processes listed in the Child Labour Act (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
  2. Employment of children under the age of fourteen years in the prohibited occupations and processes is punishable. The employer can be imprisoned for three months up to one year and/or fined for minimum of Rs 10,000 up to Rs. 20,000 that may be used for the welfare of the child. More details can be found in the Section 14 of the Child Labour Act, 1986.
  3. The working conditions of the children in occupations where they are not prohibited from working are regulated such as the hours and period of work, weekly holidays, health and safety of the children. For example, children working in occupations not prohibited by the Child Labour Act, 1986 are not permitted to work for more than three hours at a stretch and between 7:00 PM and 8:00 AM. More information on regulations of the condition of work can be found in Part III of Child Labour Act, 1986.
  4. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights have submitted an Action Plan for Abolition of Child Labour in Delhi. According to this plan child labourers profile in Delhi are of two types- out of school children living with their parents and migrant children who come from leaving their family behind. The plan is an integrated response of Delhi Police, Department of Labour, Women and Child Welfare Department, Education Department and Health Department to identify, rescue, repatriate and rehabilitate child labourers.
  5. Under the Factories Act, an adolescent may be recruited between the age of 14 to 18 years only after fitness certificate is obtained from the authorised medical doctor. Working conditions are regulated according to this act, where children cannot work in the night shifts and work more than four and a half hours.
  6. According to Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 even if a child is above fourteen years of age and below eighteen years and is working hazardous or non hazardous occupations may be considered as a child in need of care and protection.
  7. There are four Child Welfare Committees in Delhi that is comprised of members who are experts of matters concerning children. The committee has the authority to look into the cases for care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of the children. A child labourer can be produced before the committee by any police officer, registered state recognised voluntary organisation/agency, social worker, public servant or child himself/herself.
  8. Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 has made provisions for a child to be placed in shelter homes, adoption, foster care, sponsorship and aftercare.
  9. A child labourer is different from child bonded labourer as the child bonded labourer offers his or her service in lieu of an advance or interest on that advance taken by him/her or his/her ascendants.Generally, a child bonded labourer works because of his/her debt or debt of his/her family/relative to the employer. In addition to other legislations, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 is applicable to the child bonded labourer.
  10. A Child labourer may be experiencing other kinds of abuse like physical abuse, sexual abuse , sychological abuse. Thus, other legislations may apply to them.

What can I do when I see a child labourer?

  1. Contact the juvenile/child welfare officer in the local police station or Special Juvenile Police Unit (previously known as JAPU). In offences of child labour and bonded labour, FIR should be registered.
  2. Contact child line on1098, a toll free 24x7 working and provide details about the child, employer and place for child line to intervene or report a child online by providing details on .
  3. Contact NGOs working on the issue of child labour. Contact details for some of the NGOs are provided on the website.
  4. In case of domestic child labour and other forms of child labour , FIR should be registered by the police (under Section 14 and 3, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, Section 23, 26 of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, Section 16,17,18 and 19 Bonded Labour Abolition Act 1976) as per circumstances.
  5. The child is to be produced Child Welfare Committee by police officer, registered state recognised voluntary organisation/agency, social worker, public servant or child himself/herself.
  6. Police can get the child medically examined and have his/her MLC prepared.
  7. A police officer has to gather all available evidence against him such as photographs, documents etc.
  8. A child labourer and his details are not to be exposed to media.

Useful Links

  1. Department of Social Welfare:
  2. International Labour Organisation:
  3. Ministry of Labour:

Relevant legislations

  1. The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.
  2. The Child Labour Act (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
  3. The Factories Act, 1948.
  4. The Mines Act, 1952.
  5. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
  6. The Juvenile Justice Act, 2000