LAW, POLICY AND PRACTICE OF CHILD RIGHTS IN INDIA
Child (or also known as infant) refers to a person who is between the stage of birth and adolescence or puberty ,and who has not yet achieved 12 years of age , child are also termed as minors and sometimes toddlers.
WHAT ARE CHILD RIGHTS?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)defines Child Rights, as the minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be provided to every citizen below the age of 18 years, regardless of nationality, race, gender, and place of birth, creed, color, language, religion, opinions, origin, wealth or other characteristics. Child rights basically includes the right to health, right to education ,right to family life, play, recreation ,an adequate standard of living free from abuse and harm. Child rights includes their mental development as well as physical growth and age appropriate needs that are required to change from time to time according to their environment and necessities.
There are four types of rights provided to child:
1. RIGHT TO SURVIVAL
Right to be born.
Rights to minimum standards of food, shelter and clothing.
Right to live with dignity.
Right to health care, to safe drinking water, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment and information to help children stay healthy.
2. RIGHT TO PROTECTION
Right to be protected from all sorts of violence.
Right to be protected from neglect.
Right to be protected from physical and sexual abuse.
Right to be protected from dangerous drugs
3. RIGHT TO PARTICIPATION
Right to freedom of expression.
Right to freedom of association.
Right to information.
Right to participate in decision making that involves him/her directly or indirectly.
4. RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT
Right to education
Right to learn
Right to relax and play
Right to all forms of development-emotional, mental, and physical.
CHILD RIGHTS IN INDIA
India has ratified to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children in 1992.The Indian constitution guarantees the children’s rights through Right to life under Article21, which reads as: “No person shall be deprived of his life or liberty except according to a procedure established by law”. Right to free and compulsory education in the 6-14 years of age group under Article 21A, which reads as: “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine” and Article 24, which reads as: “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any hazardous employment.” of the constitution of India; Laborers Working on Salal Hydro-Project vs. State of Jammu Kashmir, AIR 1984 SC 177. Child Labor is prohibited in India under the directions of the Supreme Court to implement constitutional mandates which needs speedy implementation; Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs. Union of India, AIR 1997 SC 2218.
RIGHT TO SURVIVAL
· RIGHT TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY
Our constitution provides right to life under article 21 which reads as, “No person shall be deprived of his life or liberty except according to the procedure established by law”. This right is for everyone whether the person is a citizen or non-citizen of India because right to life is denoted as natural birth with which every individual is born and also known as first generation rights (i.e. right to life, equality before law, freedom of speech, the right to fair trial, freedom of religion and voting rights).Everyone has this right to live with dignity whether it is an adult or a child. Many people nowadays are preferring nuclear families due to this reason people are aborting their child in the womb and if they are born either they left them for orphanages or they simply left them to get rid of them, which is not merely an offence but a great sin as well as.
· RIGHT TO MINIMUM STANDARDS OF FOOD, SHELTER & CLOTHING
The most basic needs for every human being including a child is proper food, shelter and clothing .Right to life is not only limited to taking breathe but it also include to have minimum standards of life which is required to make it even better and it is necessary for a child to have a proper food nutritious food for their physical as well as their mental development, a good clean and healthy environment to live and grow .And last but not least is proper clothing to protect themselves from different climatic changes.
· RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE
Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, illness, injury and other physical and mental impairment in various adults as well as in children, the health aspects of children are very significant because they are on their growing age not only growing physically but mentally also and it is required to take care of their health, and if they facing any physical or mental impairment it should be first diagnose properly and then take certain preventions and treatment of their disease.
RIGHT TO PROTECTION
PROTECTION FROM VIOLENCE
There are so many incidents of violence against the children which includes all forms of violence against people under 18 years old, whether perpetrated by parents or other caregivers, peers, partners, or strangers. Globally it is estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2- 17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past one year. Experiencing violence in childhood impacts lifelong health and well being.
TYPES OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN
Most of the violence against children involves at least two or three of six main types of interpersonal violence that tend to occur at different stages in a child’s behavior as well as in their development(physical and mental development).
It can be violent punishment which includes physical violence, psychological/emotional violence; and neglecting children i.e. infants and adolescents by the caregivers, guardians, parents and other authority persons most often at home but it can also be in schools and orphanages.
This is very prevalent in school going children where strong or senior students use to bully weak and student and sometimes classmates as well. Bullying is an unwanted aggressive behavior which includes repeated physical and psychological harm. It involves repeated behavior, physical, psychological or social harm, and often takes place in schools and other settings where children gather.
Youth violence is concentrated among children and adults aged between 10-20 years, occurs most often in community settings between acquaintances and strangers, include bullying and physical assault with and without weapons.
Intimate partner violence
Intimate partner violence or domestic violence involves physical, sexual, and emotional violence by an intimate partner or ex-partner. Although males can also be victims, intimate partner violence disproportionately affects females as well as males. It commonly occurs against girls within child marriages and early/forced marriages. Among romantically involved but unmarried adolescents it is sometimes known as ‘dating violence’.
It includes non-consensual completed or attempted sexual contact and acts of sexual nature not involving contact such as voyeurism or sexual harassment; acts of sexual trafficking against someone who is unable to consent or refuse; and online exploitation.
Psychological violence includes restricting a child’s movement, denigration, ridicule, threats and intimidation, discrimination, rejection and other non-physical forms of hostile treatment.
RIGHT TO PARTICIPATION
Child participation is one of the core principles of the Convention on the rights of child (CRC), which asserts that children and young people have right to freely express their views and that there is an obligation to listen to children’s views and to facilitate their participation in all matters affecting them within their families, schools, local, communities, public services etc. Article 12 of General Principles of the Convention on the Rights of Child, says that every child has right to express their views in all matter that affecting them and to consider their views in a serious manner. There are large group of rights that addresses the right of children to participate. Children can no longer be perceived as passive recipients of care and protection, or accidental beneficiaries of policy decisions; they cannot be envisaged as not yet persons in the making.
RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT
This right is enshrined in the 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development, whereby every person is entitled to participate freely, contribute, and to enjoy as well as utilize the benefits of development. In today’s world, children are suffering from economic and their environmental crisis. Children in developing countries are facing major crisis in terms of poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, diseases. Child labor is very common in developing countries and exploitation of these unfortunate children from the hands of their masters, they compel to work in hazardous places to earn a living for their themselves as well as their family members, due to which their real mental development is not growing, in the age of going to school they are stuck under huge unfavorable responsibilities of work which is hindering their development. There are various laws made by the legislations of country but they are not enforced strictly. There are lots of organizations working for welfare of children which are non- governmental in nature but still governmental support is required to give these children a good life which they deserves.
Submitted by - Gunjan Rathore
Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida