Under the J.J. Act of 2000, a person up to the age of 18 years is treated as ‘child’. Same age is prescribed under the CPCR Act, 2005 as well. However when it comes to prohibition of Child Labour Act of 1986, the definition of child means a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age. Thus, virtually there is no prohibition of child labour in case of children who are more than 14 years but less than 18 years of age. Furthermore, this Act focuses on the prohibition of employment of children in certain specified work places, which are harmful for the children, and there is no absolute prohibition. At the same time, now, RTE Act creates an obligation on the part of State to provide free and compulsory education to all children aged between 6 to 14 years. This is now the constitutional obligation as well. As right to education is made fundamental, it would, therefore, follow that as far as children up to the age of 14 years are concerned, since they are to be provided free education, there would be absolute ban/bar and prohibition from child labour.
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