THE CHILD LABOUR (PROHIBITION AND REGUALTION) ACT, 1986
(Act No. 61 of 1986)
[23rd December, 1986]
Be it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-seventh
Year of the Republic of India as follows:
Social and beneficial legislation – Social legislation
is designed to protect the interest of a class of society who, because
of their economic conditions, deserves such protection. With a view
to pass the test of reasonable classification there must exist intelligible
differentia between persons or thing grouped together from those who
have been left out and there must by a reasonable nexus with the object
to be achieved by the legislation.
The Court must strive to so interpret the statute as to protect and
advance the object and purpose of enactment. Any narrow or technical
interpretation of the provisions would defeat the legislative policy.
The Court must, therefore, keep the legislative policy in mind in applying
the provisions of the Act to the facts of the case.
1. Short title, extent and commencement – (1)
This Act may be called the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation)
(1)It extends to the whole of India.
(3) The provisions of this Act, other then Part III, shall come into
force at once, and Part III shall come into force on such date as the
Central Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, appoint,
and different dates may be appointed for different States and for different
classes of establishments.
May and shall – Where the Legislature uses two
words “may” and “shall” in two different parts
of the same provision, prima facie it would appear that the Legislature
manifested its intension to make one part directory and another mandatory.
But that by itself is not decisive. The power of the Court still to
ascertain the real intension of the Legislature by carefully examining
the scope of statute to find out whether the provision is directory
or mandatory remains unimpaired even where both the words are used in
the same provision.
In interpreting the provisions the exercise undertaken
by the Court is to make explicit the intention of the Legislative which
enacted the legislation. It is not for the Court to reframe the legislation
for the very good reason that the powers to “legislate”
have not been conferred on the Court.
In order to sustain the presumption of constitutionality of a legislative
measure, the Court can take into consideration matters of common knowledge,
matters of common report, the history of the times and also assume every
state of facts which can be conceived existing at the time of the legislation.
2. Definitions – In this Act,
unless the context otherwise requires,
(i)“appropriate Government” means, in
relation to an establishment under the control of the Central Government
or a railway administration or a major port or a mine or oilfield, the
Central Government, and in all other cases, the State Government;
(ii)“child“ means a person who has not completed his fourteenth
year of age;
(iii)“day” means a period of twenty-four hours beginning
(iv)“establishment” includes a shop, commercial establishment,
work-shop, farm, residential hotel, restaurant, eating-house, theatre
or other place of public amusement or entertainment;
(v)“family” in relation to an occupier, means the individual,
the wife or husband, as the case may be, of such individual, and their
children, brother or sister of such individual;
(vi)“occupier”, in relation to an establishment or a workshop,
means the person who has the ultimate control over the affairs of the
establishment or workshop;
(vii)“port authority” means any authority administering
(viii)“prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under
(ix)“week” means a period of seven days beginning at midnight
on Saturday night or such other night as may be approved in writing
for a particular area by the Inspector;
(x)“workshop” means any premises (including the precincts
thereof) wherein any industrial process in carried on, but does not
include any premises to which the provisions of Sec. 67 of the Factories
Act, 1948 (63 of 1948), for the time being, apply.
This section defines the various words and expressions occurring in
Interpretation of section –
The Court can merely interpret the section; it cannot re-write, re-cast
or re-design the section.
Ambiguous expression – Courts
must find out the literal meaning of the expression in the task of construction.
In doing so if the expressions are ambiguous then the construction that
fulfils the objects of the legislation must provide the key to the meaning.
Courts must not make mockery of legislation and should take a constructive
approach to fulfil the purpose and for that purpose, if necessary, iron
out the creases.
Prohibition of Employment
of Children in certain Occupations and Processes
3. Prohibition of employment of children in certain
occupations and processes – No child shall be employed or permitted
to work in any of the occupations set forth in Part A of the Schedule
or in any workshop wherein any of the processes set forth in Part B
of the Schedule is carried on :
Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to any workshop wherein
any process is carried on by the occupier with the aid of his family
or to any school established by or receiving assistance or recognition
This section imposes prohibition on employment of children in the occupation
and processes specified in the Schedule.
Proviso – A proviso is intended
to limit the enacted provision so as to except something which would
have otherwise been within it or in some measure to modify the enacting
clause. Sometimes proviso may be embedded in the main provision and
becomes an integral part of it so as to amount to a substantive provision
4. Power to amend the Schedule –
The Central Government, after giving by notification in the official
Gazette, not less than three months’ notice of its intention so
to do, may, by like notification, add any occupation or process to the
Schedule and thereupon the Schedule shall be deemed to have been amended
This section empowers the Central Government to amend the Schedule so
as to include therein any occupation or process considered necessary.
Construction of a section –
it is en elementary rule that construction of a section is to be made
of all parts together. It is not permissible to omit any part of it.
For, the principle that the statute must be read as a whole is equally
applicable to different part of the same section.
5. Child Labour Technical Advisory Committee
– (1) The Central Government may, by notification is
in official Gazette, constitute an advisory committee to be called the
Child Labour Technical Advisory Committee (hereinafter in this section
referred to as the Committee) to advise the Central Government for the
purpose of addition of occupations and processes to the Schedule.
(2) The Committee shall consist of a Chairman and such other members
not exceeding ten, as may be appointed by the Central Government.
(3) The Committee shall meet as often as it may consider necessary and
shall have power to regulate its own procedure.
(4) The Committee may, if it deems it necessary so to do, constitute
one or more sub-committees and may appoint to any such sub-committee,
whether generally or for the consideration of any particular matter,
any person who is not a member of the Committee.
(5) The term of office of, the manner of filling causal vacancies in
the office of, and the allowances, if any, payable to, the Chairman
and other members of the Committee, and the conditions and restrictions
subject to which the Committee may appoint any person who is not a member
of the Committee as a member of any of its sub-committees shall be such
as may be prescribed.
This section empowers the Central Government to constitute the Child
Labour Technical Advisory Committee for giving advice in the matter
of inclusion of any occupation and process in the Schedule.
Regulation of Conditions
of Work of Children
6. Application of Part – The
provisions of this Part shall apply to an establishment or a class of
establishments in which none of the occupations or processes referred
to in Sec. 3 is carried on.
This section lays down that provisions of this Part shall apply to an
establishment in which none of the prohibited occupations or processes
is carried on.
7. Hours and period of work –
(1) No child shall be required or permitted to work in any establishment
in excess of such number of hours as may be prescribed for such establishment
or class of establishments.
(2) The period of work on each day shall be so fixed that no period
shall exceed three hours and that no child shall work for more than
three hours before he has had an interval for rest for at least one
(3) The period of work of a child shall be so arranged that inclusive
of his interval for rest, under sub-section(2), it shall not be spread
over more than six hours, including the time spent in waiting for work
on any day.
(2)No child shall be permitted or required to work between 7 p.m. and
(3)No child shall be permitted or required to work overtime.
(4)No child shall be permitted or required to work in any establishment
on any day on which he has already been working in another establishment.
This section prescribes working hours for a child labour.
Provision if mandatory or directory – The surest
test for determination as to whether the provisions is mandatory or
directory is to see as to whether the sanction is provided therein.
8. Weekly holidays – Every
child employed in an establishment shall be allowed in each week, a
holiday or one whole day, which day shall be specified by the occupier
in a notice permanently exhibited in a conspicuous place in the establishment
and the day so specified shall not be altered by the occupier more than
once in three months.
This section lays down that a weekly holiday should be allowed to every
9. Notice to Inspector – (1)
Every occupier in relation to an establishment in which a child was
employed or permitted to work immediately before the date of commencement
of this Act in relation to such establishment shall, within a period
of thirty days from such commencement, send to the Inspector within
whose local limits the establishment is situated, a written notice containing
the following particulars, namely :
(a)the name and situation of the establishment;
(b)the name of the person in actual management of the establishment;
(c)the address to which communications relating to the establishment
should be sent; and,
(d)the nature of the occupation or process carried on in the establishment.
(2) Every occupier, in relation to an establishment, who employs, or
permits to work, any child after the date of commencement of this Act
in relation to such establishment, shall, within a period of thirty
days from the date of such employment, send to the Inspector within
whose local limits the establishment is situated, a written notice containing
the following particulars as are mentioned in sub-section (1).
Explanation – For the purposes of sub-sections
(1) and (2), “date of commencement of this Act, in relation to
an establishment” means the date of brining into force of this
Act in relation to such establishment.
(3) Nothing in Secs. 7,8and 9 shall apply to any establishment
wherein any process is carried on by the occupier with the aid of his
family or to any schools established by, or receiving assistance or
recognition from, Government.
This section makes provision for furnishing of information regarding
employment of a child labour to Inspector.
Explanation – It is now well
settled that an explanation added to a statutory provision is not a
substantive provision in any sense of the term but as the plain meaning
of the word itself shows it is merely meant to explain or clarify certain
ambiguities which may have crept in the statutory provision.
10. Disputes as to age – If
any question arises between an Inspector and an occupier as to the age
of any child who is employed or is permitted to work by him in an establishment,
the question shall, in the absence of a certificate as to the age of
such child granted by the prescribed authority, be referred by the Inspector
for decision to the prescribed medical authority.
This section makes provision for settlement of disputes
as to age of any child labour.
11. Maintenance of register – There shall be
maintained by every occupier in respect of children employed or permitted
to work in any establishment, a register to be available for inspection
by an Inspector at all times during working hours or when work is being
carried on in any such establishment showing –
(a)the name and date of birth of every child so employed or permitted
(b)hours and periods of work of any such child and the intervals of
rest to which he is entitled;
(c)the nature of work of any such child; and
(d)such other particulars as may be prescribed
This section makes provision for maintenance of register in respect
of child labour.
12. Display of notice containing abstract
of Secs. 3 and 14 – Every railway administration, every
port authority and every occupier shall cause to be displayed in a conspicuous
and accessible place at every station on its railway or within the limits
of a port or at the place of work, as the case may be, a notice in the
local language and in the English language containing an abstract of
Secs. 3 and 14.
This section makes provision for display of notice in a conspicuous
place at every railway station or port or place of work regarding prohibition
of employment of child labour, penalties, etc., in the local languages
and in the English language.
13. Health and safety – (1)
The appropriate Government may, by notification in the official Gazette,
make rules for the health and safety of the children employed or permitted
to work in any establishment or class of establishments.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions,
the said rules may provide for all or any of the following matters,
(a)cleanliness in the place of work and its freedom for nuisance;
(b)disposal of wastes and effluents;
(c)ventilation and temperature;
(d)dust and fume;
(h)latrine and urinals;
(j)fencing of machinery;
(k)work at or near machinery in motion;
(l)employment of children on dangerous machines;
(m)instructions, training and supervision in relation to employment
of children on dangerous machines;
(n)device for cutting off power;
(p)easing of new machinery;
(q)floor, stairs and means of access;
(r)pits, sumps, openings in floors, etc.;
(t)protection of eyes;
(u)explosive or inflammable dust, gas, etc.;
(v)precautions in case of fire;
(w)maintenance of buildings; and
(x)safety of buildings and machinery.
This section lays down that the Government is required to make rules
for the health and safety of the child labour.
14. Penalties – (1) Whoever
employs any child or permits any child to work in contravention of the
provisions of Sec. 3 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term
which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to one
year or with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but
which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or with both.
(2) Whoever, having been convicted of an offence under Sec. 3, commits
a like offence afterwards, he shall be punishable with imprisonment
for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend
to two years.
(3) Whoever –
(a)fails to give notice as required by Sec. 9, or
fails to maintain a register as required by Sec. 11 or makes any false
entry in any such register; or
(b)fails to display a notice containing an abstract of Sec. 3 and this
section as required by Sec. 12; or
(c)fails to comply with or contravenes any other provisions of this
Act or the rules made thereunder;
shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to one
month or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both
This section makes provision for penalty for contravention of the provisions
of the Act.
Penalty – Mens rea –
Essential – Penalty proceedings are quasi criminal proceedings.
Before penalty can be imposed it has to be ensured that means rea has
Penal provision – Object of – The law in its wisdom seeks
to punish the guilty who commits the sin, and not his son, who is innocent.
15. Modified application of certain laws in
relation to penalties – (1) Where any person is found
guilty and convicted of contravention of any of the provisions mentioned
in sub-section(2), he shall be liable to penalties as provided in sub-sections
(1) and (2) of Sec. 14 of this Act and not under the Acts in which those
provisions are contained.
(2)The provisions referred to in sub-section (1) are
the provisions mentioned below:
(a)Section 67 of the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948);
(b)Section 40 of the Mines Act, 1952 (35 of 1952);
(c)Section 109 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958); and
(d)Section 21 of the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961 (27 of 1961).
This section makes provision of penalties under the Act even when any
person is found guilty and convicted of contravention of any of the
provisions of Sec. 67 of the Factories Act, 1948, Sec. 40 of the Mines
Act, 1952, Section 109 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 and Sec. 21
of the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961.
16. Procedure relating to offences –
(1) Any person, police officer or Inspector may file a complaint of
the commission of an offence under this Act in any Court of competent
(2) Every certificate as to the age of a child which has been granted
by a prescribed medical authority shall, for the purposes of this Act,
be conclusive evidence as to the age of the child to whom it relates.
(3) No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate
or a Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence under this
This section lays down that any person, police officer or Inspector
can make a complaint regarding commission of offences. It also lays
down the procedure for disposal of such a complaint.
Court Duty of – The Court should
meticulously consider all facts and circumstances of the case. The Court
is not bound to grant specific performance merely because it is lawful
to do so. The motive behind the litigation should also enter into the
judicial verdict. The Court should take care to see that it is used
as an instrument of oppression to have an unfair advantage to plaintiff.
17. Appointment of Inspectors – The appropriate Government
may appoint inspectors for the purposes of securing compliance with
the provisions of this Act and any inspector so appointed shall be deemed
to be a public servant within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code (45
This section empowers the appropriate Government to appoint inspectors
for securing compliance of the provisions of the Act. Such Inspector
is deemed to be a public servant with in the meaning f the Indian Penal
Code (45 of 1860).
Public servant – Every public
officer is a trustee and in respect of the office he holds and the salary
and other benefits which he draws, he is obliged to render appropriate
service to the State. If an officer does not behave as required of him
under the law he is certainly liable to be punished in accordance with
18. Power to make rules – (1)
The appropriate Government may, by notification in the official Gazette
and subject to the condition of previous publication, make rules for
carrying into effect the provisions of this Act.
(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality
of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the
following matters, namely :
(a)the term of the office of, the manner of filling casual vacancies
of, and the allowances payable to, the Chairman and members of the Child
Labour Technical Advisory Committee and the conditions and restrictions
subject to which a non-member may be appointed to a sub-committee under
sub-section (5) of Sec.5;
(b)number of hours for which a child may be required or permitted to
work under sub-section (1) of Sec. 7;
(c)grant to certificates of age in respect of young persons in employment
or seeking employment, the medical authorities which may issue such
certificate, the form of such certificate, the charges which may be
made thereunder and the manner in which such certificate may be issued;
Provided that no charge shall be made for the issue
of any such certificate of the application is accompanied by evidence
of age deemed satisfactory by the authority concerned;
(d)the other particulars which a register maintained under Sec. 11 should
This section empowers the appropriate Government to make rule for carrying
out the provisions of the Act.
Rules for effectuating the purpose of the
Act – The general power of farming rules for effectuating
the purposes of the Act, would plainly authorize and sanctify the framing
of such a rule.
19. Rules and notifications to be laid before
Parliament or State legislature –
(1) Every rules made under this Act by the Central Government and every
notification issued under Sec. 4, shall be laid, as soon as may be after
it is made or issued, before each House of Parliament, while it is in
session for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in
one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the
expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive
session aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the
rule or notification or both Houses agree that the rule or notification
should not be made or issued, the rule or notification shall thereafter
have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case
may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be
without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under
that rule or notification.
(2)Every rule made by a State Government under this Act shall be laid
as soon as may be after it is made, before the Legislature of that State.
Under this section the rules and notifications are to be laid before
Parliament of State Legislature for approval.
20. Certain other provisions of law not barred
– Subject to the provisions contained in Sec. 15, the
provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder shall be in addition
to, and not in derogation of, the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948
(63 of 1948), the Plantations Labour Act, 1951 (69 of 1951) and the
Mines Act, 1952 (35 of 1952).
This section lays down that the provision of this Act shall be in addition
to and not in derogation of, the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948,
the Plantations Labour Act, 1951 and the Mines Act, 1952.
21. Power to remove difficulties –
(1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect of the provisions of this
Act, the Central Government may, by order published in the official
Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of
this Act as appear to it to be necessary or expedient for removal of
the difficulty :
Provided that no such order shall be made after the expiry of a period
of three years from the date on which this Act receives the assent of
(2) Every order made under this section shall, as soon as may be after
it is made, before the Houses of Parliament.
Under the provisions of this section the Central Government is empowered
to remove difficulties which arise in giving effect to the provisions
of this Act.
22. Repeal and savings – (1)
The Employment of Children Act, 1938 (26 of 1938) is hereby repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken or
purported to have been done or taken under the Act so repealed shall,
in so far as it is not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act,
be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions
of this Act.
The Employment of Children Act, 1938 (26 of 1938) has been repealed
by this section.
Implied repeal – It is well settled that when
a competent authority makes a new law which is totally inconsistent
with the earlier law and that the two cannot stand together any longer
it must be construed that the earlier law had been repealed by necessary
implication by the latter law.
23. Amendment of Act 11 of 1948 –
In Sec. 2 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 –
(i)for Cl. (a), the following clauses shall be subsituated, namely :
“(a) `adolescent’ means a persons who has completed his
fourteenth year of age but has not completed his eighteenth year;
(aa)‘adult’ means a person who has completed his eighteenth
year of age;”:
(ii) after Cl.(b), the following clause shall be inserted, namely :
“(bb) `child’ means a person who had not completed his fourteenth
year of age;”.
Under this section Sec. 2 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 has been amended
so as to define the terms “adolescent”, “adult”
24. Amendment of Act 69 of 1951 –
In the Plantations Labour Act, 1951 –
(a)in Sec.2 in Cls.(a) and (c), for the word “fifteenth”,
the word “fourteenth” shall be substituted;
(b)Sec. 24 shall be omitted;
(c)in Sec. 26, in the opening portion, the words “who has completed
his twelfth year” shall be omitted.
Under this section, sec. 2 of the Plantations Labour
Act, 1951, has been amended so far as it relates to the employment of
25. Amendment of Act 44 of 1958 – In the Merchant Shipping Act,
1958, in Sec. 109, for the word “fifteen”, the word “fourteen”
shall be substituted.
Under this section Sec. 109 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, has
been amended so far as it relates to the employment of child labour.
26. Amendment of Act 27 of 1961 –
In the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961 in Sec.2, in Cls.(a), and (c),
for the word “fifteenth”, the word “fourteenth”
shall be substituted.
Under this section, Sec.2 of the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961,
has been amended so far as it relates to the employment of child labour.