ROLE OF JUDICIARY IN PROTECTING CHILD RIGHTS
Ateesha Mishra, 4th Year BBA LLB, Banasthali Vidyapith, Jaipur
Childhood is regarded as one of the most beautiful and exuberance experiences of someone’s life. God has gifted humans blissful memories and delightful experiences. But there is a harsh reality because the children are deprived of rights and equality. Neglecting the rights and happiness of the children means neglecting the growth of the country. Life would be meaningless if the child could not enjoy their rights in society.
Through Judiciary we can only save human rights and values. Standard development can only be done by the judiciary and it also plays an important role in making the life of the people, even more, better by providing them the rights. The role of the judiciary plays an important role in judicial interpretation and has been remarked as the statutory intervention in the present era. Equality is one of the important assets of human life which should be guaranteed to every person. India is the largest democracy in the world, a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, and republic with a holistic character of the rights guaranteed to the society.
For the protection of the children, the Indian judiciary did their work on the method of UNITED NATION CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILD (UNCRC). Under this, the right to protection, right to survival, right to development, and also right to Development is given to the child. So can every child in this world can enjoy their rights and privileges.
WHO A CHILD IS?
According to International law, a child is defined as a human being who is under the age of 18 years. and this has been a universally accepted definition of the Child which falls under the umbrella of UNCRC (United Nation Conventions on the Rights of the Child ). Similarly, in India, the definition of the child has been recognized the same as UNHRC. In India, 18 years of age is regarded as the legal age for any adult, or we can say it's the legal age. Marriage of a girl below 18 years and marriage of the boys below 21 years is considered to be offenses under the Child Marriage Restraint act 1929.
Moreover, India has changed the juvenile justice act and some laws to ensure the proper development and growth of the child. As children are immature and do not have a proper understanding level to make better decisions in their life. So, they need proper attention through these laws.
PROTECTION OF CHILDREN UNDER INDIAN PENAL CODE
Children are considered as the soul of the god. But the reality is different, nowadays the most common and basic problem is a crime against children. As we know that children are considered to be the most vulnerable group in society because they lack the physical force and do not have enough maturity to understand the case. The Indian Penal Code 1860, under sec 82 says that no child below 7 years can be held liable if any offense happened to him. And sec 83 of IPC talks that under age of 7 and 12 years. No child should be punished for the offense but here the consequences of his offensive action will be taken in court before deciding the case. Like a girl under the age of 16 years cannot give consent for sexual or physical intercourse unless she is married.
CHILDREN AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Our Indian constitution not only gives rights to Adults or States but also gives rights to children, so can they also enjoy their rights and privileges in society. According to Article 21 of the Indian constitution, every child below the age of six and fourteen years will get free and compulsory education. Similarly, under Article 45 of the Indian Constitution, it is the responsibility of the state for early childhood care and education to all children. Article 51(k) of the Indian constitution, it is the responsibility of the state to look after its child and provide them free education for the overall development.
CONNECTION OF CHILDREN AND LABOUR LAW
As we know that, there are many cases related to Child labor. These labor laws have been governed for the protection of the children against exploitation. The Child Labour prohibition act came into force in the year 1986. The factories act, 1948 says that children below 12 years of age cannot be employed in any industry. It also says that the adolescents who are under the age of 18 years can be employed as the worker but they can only work for half of the day and they shall also provide the medical benefits for the proper checking of their health. Under labor law, there is a provision that those women whose child is below 10 years can keep their child in trenches.
CHILD MARRIAGE AND LAWS
As we know that, there are many cases of child marriage nowadays. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006 states that the male has not reached the majority until 21 years of age and the female hasn’t reached until the age of 18 years of age. There are certain kinds of laws and provisions that were given for the protection of the child who falls under this age of majority. Persian, Muslim, and Christian religion personal laws also agree on the 18 years of majority. The juvenile justice act 2000, gives rights and protection to children.
RELATION OF CHILDREN WITH JUVENILE JUSTICE
We have come across many different views on child rights and the protection of the child. The Juvenile Justice Act 2015 came into existence for the procedural safeguards in the case of children conflict with the laws or legislation. Many new definitions came into force with this like orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered children. It makes provisions regarding the offense committed by the children or any adult fall under the definition of the juvenile act. It also makes special provisions regarding any heinous crime committed by children above 16 years of age.
Case –Sheela Barse v/s Union of India
The court observed that children who are in jail should get proper treatment .Children are considered as the natural assets and the pride of the country so they are entitled to get proper facilities.
CHILDREN AND PROVISIONS OF HEALTH FACILITIES
Children are considered as one of the most important assets in society. Article 38 of the Indian Constitution says the state must provide social wellness and promote the public health of the adult and children. Under Article 39 (f) of the Indian Constitution, children must be given the opportunities to health facilities themselves with dignity and healthy life. Article 47 of the Indian Constitution also elaborates that the state must provide public health and also impose the penalty towards those who didn’t help in assisting in raising the nutrition and standard of living to the people.
RIGHT TO EQUALITY AND EQUALITY OF CHILDREN
The fundamental rights are guaranteed to protect the rights of the human and safeguard against exploitation. One of the important fundamental rights is the right to equality which is guaranteed under article 14 of the Indian Constitution. Right to equality refers to equal opportunity in the eye of law. when there is any matter of race, religion, place of birth, etc, the state should ensure proper equality towards children. Article 15 of the Indian constitution guarantees, the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex, gender, and color.
PROVISIONS RELATED TO ADAPTATION OF THE CHILD
Adoption is considered one of the important concepts of human life. Adoption means an act of taking and rearing the child by the parents. It is subject to personal law. Article 44 of the Indian Constitution, declares the state shall endeavor to secure for the citizen a Uniform Civil Code throughout the country.
A child's right as an identity of the family is universally recognized. They are enriched in the United Nation on the Right of the child 1989. Lakshmi Kant Pandey v/s Union of India, in this case, it was held by Justice Bhagwati, that any violation of the adoption or non – compliance may lead to adoption to be declared invalid and expose the person concerned with no strict action including prosecution.
Sakshi v/s Union of IndiaIn this case, the SC asked the law commission for considering certain kinds of children submitted by the petitioner.
We have concluded that the Indian judiciary is playing a very significant role in the development and growth of children in India. They made such laws and provisions which can be beneficial for the welfare and the development of the child. Though there is certain kind of challenges ahead like Child trafficking, female foeticide, child abuse, etc. But with progress, these can be solved soon. Legal reform not only gives justice to the child but also provides an effective preventive manner to bring change to society. The child is like a bud of the plant, which can only blossom when rights will be guaranteed to them.
(Disclaimer- The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Child Rights Centre.)