Due to the fact that the constitution of India recognises children as citizens of the nation and accords them with certain rights, there are also special laws in places for protecting the rights. The constitution incorporates most rights stated by the UN Convention as child rights through Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.
Let’s take a look at those rights in detail:
Constitutional Guarantees Meant For Children Only
- Right to education compulsorily and free of cost for any child 6 to 14 years of age, as stated in Article 21 A
- Right to enjoy protection against any form of employment that can hazardous, until 14 years of age, as mentioned in Article 24
- Right to have suitable protection against abuse or forced employment in occupation unsuitable for their strength or age, provided by Article 39(e)
- Right to equal facilities and opportunities for developing in a sound and healthy manner, and in conditions of dignity & freedom, as well as guaranteed protection against exploitation during childhood & youth and also against material and moral abandonment, as given in Article 39(f)
- Right to education and childhood care until the completion of 6 years of age, declared by Article 45
Other Rights Guaranteed to Children As Citizens of India
- Right to equality
- Right against discrimination
- Right to enjoy protection against trafficking and forced bonded labour
- Right to due process of the law and personal liberty
- Right of the minorities to have their interests protected
- Rights of the weaker sections of society to have protection against all types of exploitation and social injustice
- Right to standard of living, nutrition & improved public health
The Constitution also bestows power in the government to enact legislation for taking care of, promoting and protecting the child rights. Certain acts, such as the Child Marriage restraint act, Child labour act 1986, JJ act, etc. have been implemented in order to further such powers.
There are many NGOs all across India that also work for the protection of child rights. So far, they seem to be doing an exemplary job in safeguarding the basic rights of children and youth. For instance, Asha Bhavan Centre, a not-for-profit organisation in West Bengal, has been actively working towards protection of the rights of children with disabilities. It also provides counselling services to parents and the local community to generate more awareness about child rights and their significance in our society.