Childhood is a wonderful time indeed. To play, learn, absorb and develop one’s mind, body and soul. Spending time doing all of the above, some of us wish we never grew up, and some of us just refused to.
There are approximately 444 million children in India, under the age of 18 (Census 2011 Data). Forming 37% of the population, they are the future.
Unfortunately, 33 million aged 5-18 and 13 million aged 5-14, have to wake up and go work – making bidis or bricks and doing other hazardous jobs.
Many products that we consume are made by these children toiling away in inhuman conditions.
The Karnataka Government’s latest step should come as a severe and welcome blow to factories that employ children. And all thanks to a long-pending court case.
The plea “Campaign against Child Labour Karnataka”, has been favoured by the Supreme Court, against the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd.
Earlier, the High Court’s decision to take an undertaking from industrial, commercial consumers that they would not engage in child labour was confirmed by the Supreme Court.
Now, according to the latest order, anyone that violates the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and Section 24 of the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961/Factories Act, 1948, can have their power supply disconnected altogether.
According to Mathews Philip, Executive Director, South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring, in India Times, “An SC judgment becomes the law of the land, and the KPTCL must enforce this verdict. CACL should give wide publicity to this judgement and put pressure on the Ministry of Energy to implement the order. This case was filed in the HC in 1999 and KPTCL appealed to the SC in 2006. The case was pending for almost 11 years,”.
“The pending appeal is an excuse for non-implementation. The final order came in January 2018; nobody has heard of action by the government to enforce it,” Phillip added.
In states across the country, children are employed in various industries, made to do jobs that adults would recoil from.
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Hopefully, the Karnataka Government’s step will inspire other state heads to clamp down on this evil in their backyards.