Report No. 250
7. Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, Act 2 of 1933
Category: Labour Laws
The Act prohibited the making of agreements to pledge the labour of children, and the employment of children whose labour had been pledged. However, the purpose of this Act is defeated by the proviso to the definition of 'agreement' under Section 2. While an agreement to pledge the labour of a child is prohibited, the said proviso says that 'an agreement made without detriment to a child, and not made in consideration of any benefit other than reasonable wages to be paid for the child's service' is not prohibited.
This proviso would have the effect of approving child labour upon the payment of reasonable wages. For this reason, the Report of the Second Indian National Labour Commission, 2002 also recommended repeal of this Act. Also, the fines imposed under the Act are paltry and would hardly serve as a deterrent.
Hence, the Central Government should repeal this Act. Simultaneously, amendments should be made to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 to penalise agreements pledging the labour of children. The Ministry of Labour and Employment is also contemplating repeal of this Act.