Article 24 of Indian Constitution

Introduction


  • The Indian Constitution, which serves as the supreme law of the land, contains a comprehensive set of provisions to protect the fundamental rights and liberties of its citizens.
  • Among these provisions, Article 24 stands out as a crucial safeguard for the welfare and protection of children in India.
  • Article 24 of Indian Constitution, embedded in Part III of the Constitution, focuses on the prohibition of child labor and aims to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for children to grow and develop.
  • In this blog, we will delve deeper into the significance and implications of Article 24 in the Indian context.

Article 24 of Indian Constitution: An Overview


  • Article 24 of Indian Constitution states: “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.”
  • This provision explicitly prohibits the employment of children in hazardous occupations.
  • It reflects the commitment of the Indian government to protect children from exploitation and secure their right to education, health, and a childhood free from physical and mental harm.

Historical Context: The Need for Child Labor Legislation


  • Before the enactment of Article 24, India witnessed widespread child labor, with children being forced to work in hazardous conditions.
  • The Industrial Revolution and economic exploitation were major factors contributing to this issue.
  • The exploitation of child labor not only deprived children of their childhood but also hindered their physical, mental, and emotional development.
  • The inclusion of Article 24 in the Indian Constitution stems from a strong conviction that children are the building blocks of a prosperous nation.
  • It acknowledges the vulnerabilities of children and recognizes their right to be protected from exploitative practices.
  • This provision finds its roots in the evolving international discourse on child rights, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which India ratified in 1992.

Prohibition of Child Labor: Key Provisions of Article 24


Definition of Child Labor

  • Article 24 defines child labor as the employment of children below the age of fourteen years in any hazardous occupations or processes.
  • It recognizes the vulnerability of children and aims to protect their rights by ensuring they are not engaged in work that may be detrimental to their health or hinder their education.

Prohibition and Exceptions

  • Article 24 unequivocally prohibits the employment of children in any hazardous occupations or processes.
  • However, it allows for certain exceptions where children may be employed in non-hazardous family-based industries or in creative and artistic endeavors that do not hamper their education.

Right to Education


  • The prohibition of child labor under Article 24 aligns with the right to education enshrined in Article 21A of the Constitution.
  • The Right to Education Act (RTE), enacted in 2009, further strengthens this provision by guaranteeing free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six and fourteen.
  • The synergy between Article 24 and Article 21A reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring children’s holistic development and fostering an inclusive society.

Significance and Impact: Protecting the Rights of Children


Social and Economic Consequences of Child Labor

  • Child labor has severe social and economic consequences.
  • It perpetuates the cycle of poverty by denying children the opportunity to receive education and acquire skills necessary for better livelihoods in the future.
  • Article 24 plays a crucial role in breaking this cycle and ensuring that children can grow in a safe and nurturing environment.

Safeguarding the Future Generation

  • By prohibiting child labor, Article 24 aims to protect the physical and mental well-being of children.
  • It recognizes the importance of education and ensures that children have the opportunity to develop their potential and contribute positively to society.
  • This provision sets the foundation for a brighter future for the younger generation.

Implementation and Enforcement: Government Initiatives


Legislative Measures

  • The Government of India has implemented several legislative measures to enforce the prohibition of child labor.
  • Acts such as the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, and the Right to Education Act, 2009, provide a legal framework for combating child labor and promoting education for all children.

Role of Law Enforcement Agencies

  • Law enforcement agencies play a crucial role in implementing and enforcing the provisions of Article 24.
  • They are responsible for conducting regular inspections, identifying instances of child labor, and taking appropriate legal action against violators.
  • Collaboration between government agencies, civil society organizations, and citizens is essential for effective enforcement.

Challenges and Solutions: Combating Child Labor Effectively


Poverty and Socioeconomic Factors

  • Poverty and socioeconomic factors often contribute to child labor.
  • To address this challenge, the government needs to focus on poverty alleviation measures, providing social security nets, and creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
  • Simultaneously, efforts should be made to increase awareness among parents and communities about the importance of education.

Education and Awareness Programs

  • Education plays a vital role in eradicating child labor.
  • Along with legal measures, the government should prioritize the provision of quality education, especially in marginalized communities.
  • Awareness programs can educate parents and communities about the long-term benefits of education and the harmful consequences of child labor.

International Perspective: Global Efforts against Child Labor


  • Child labor is a global issue that requires collective efforts to combat.
  • Several international organizations, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), work towards eliminating child labor worldwide.
  • India actively participates in these efforts, collaborating with other nations to share best practices and work towards the common goal of eradicating child labor.

Conclusion


  • Article 24 of the Indian Constitution plays a vital role in safeguarding the rights and well-being of children.
  • By prohibiting child labor and ensuring access to education, it strives to provide children with a nurturing environment that enables their physical, mental, and intellectual growth.
  • While challenges persist in its implementation, the commitment of the Indian government, coupled with collective efforts from various stakeholders, remains crucial in upholding the spirit and intent of Article 24.
  • Through continued advocacy, awareness, and effective policies, India can move closer to its vision of a nation where every child enjoys a safe, secure, and prosperous future.

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