Constitutional Provisions of Children-Who is a Child? Hausla 2017 for Children (Important)

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The Ministry of Women and Child Development celebrated the Child Rights Week by hosting an inter-Child Care Institution festival, “Hausla 2017” for the children who reside in childcare institutions between 16 - 20th November 2017. The event aims at inspiring and mainstreaming these children by providing a national platform to showcase their talents.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children
  • First of its kind national level programme for children living in child care institutions.
  • 500 Children from 26 States and UTs are participating in various events being organized as part of Hausla 2017
  • To improve the quality of life of the children in child care institutions, they would ranked on the basis of standards of care provided by them
  • ‘Hausla 2017’ celebration saw several programs like:
  • Painting event for children residing in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) . All the paintings will be exhibited in the parliament annexe and the money raised through these paintings would be shared with the children.
  • Bal Sansad- designed to empower children to voice their opinions regarding issues related to their welfare and give suggestions. Some of the suggestions included:
    • Right to survival, development, protection and participation
    • Ensuring access to playgrounds to all children
    • Orientation for teachers, health service providers and police to be sensitive towards needs of vulnerable children
    • Improved facilities for rehabilitations of children affected by substance abuse
    • Adequate facilities for higher education of children of CCIs
    • Working with street children and children indulged in begging

Constitutional Provisions for Children

There are several Constitutional Provisions of Children. These include the following

  • Article14: provides that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
  • Article 15 (3) : provides that ″ Nothing in this article shall prevent the state for making any special provision for women and children
  • Article 21: provide that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law
  • Article 21 (A) : directs 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.
  • Article 23: prohibits trafficking of human beings and forced labour
  • Article 24: prohibits employment of children below the age of fourteen years in factories, mines, or any other hazardous occupation
  • Article 25 - 28: provides freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
  • Article 45: envisages that the state shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.

Who is a Child? Definition of Child

  • According to the UNCRC, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. In India, various laws related to children define children in different age limits.
  • According to Article 21 (a) of the Indian Constitution, all children between the ages of six to fourteen should be provided with free and compulsory education. The child labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 defines a child as a person who has not completed fourteen years of age.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of Children) Act, 2000 changed the definition of child to any person who has not completed eighteen years of age. Because of its umbrella clauses and because it is the latest law to be enacted regarding child rights and protection, many are of the opinion that the definition of child found in the JJ Act, 2000 has considered the legal definition for a child in all matters.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children- What Are Child Rights?

Child rights are specialized human rights that apply to all human beings below the age of 18. Universally child rights are defined by the United Nations and United Nations Convention on the rights of the Children (UNCRC) under four broad classifications

  • Right to Survival: A child՚s right to survival begins before a child is born. According to Govt. of India, a child life begins after twenty weeks of conception. Hence, the right to survival is inclusive of the child rights to be born, right to minimum standards of food, shelter, and clothing and the right to live with dignity.
  • Right to Development: Children have the right to all forms of development: Emotional, mental and physical. Emotional development is fulfilled by proper care and love of a support system, mental development through education and learning, and physical development through recreation, play, and nutrition.
  • Right to Protection: A Child has the right to be protected from neglect, exploitation, and abuse at home and elsewhere.
  • Right to Participation: A child has a right to participate in any decision-making that involves him/her directly or indirectly. There are varying degrees of participation as per the age and maturity of the child

Child Care Institutions in India

  • The JJ (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (as amended in 2006) is the to consolidate and amend the law relating to Juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their development needs, and by adopting a child- friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children and for their ultimate rehabilitation.
  • “Children՚s home” is any institution established by a State Government or by voluntary organization and certified by that Govt. under Sec. 34.
  • Children՚s Homes are established and maintained either by state itself or in association with the voluntary organizations for the reception of child in need. They provide care, treatment, education, training, development, and rehabilitation.

Who Needs Protection?

“Child in need of care and protection” means a child:

  • Found without any home or settled place or abode and without any ostensible means of subsistence
  • Found begging, or either a street child or a working child
  • Resides with a person (whether guardian of the child or not) who:
    • Has threatened to kill or injure the child and there is a reasonable likelihood of the threat being carried out
    • Has killed, abused or neglected some other child or children and there is a reasonable likelihood of the child in question being killed, abused or neglected by that person.
  • Mentally or physically challenged or suffering from terminal or incurable diseases with no support
  • With parent or guardian who is unfit or incapacitated to exercise control over the child
  • Does not have parent and no one is willing to take care of or whose parents have abandoned (or surrendered) him or who is missing and run away child and whose parents cannot be found after reasonable injury
  • Vulnerable and is likely to be inducted into drug abuse or trafficking
  • Likely to be abused for unconscionable gains
  • Victim of any armed conflict, civil commotion, or neutral calamity

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