Report No. 248
48. Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, Act 2 of 1933
Category: Labour Laws
The Act was enacted to prohibit the pledging of the labour of children. However, the purpose of the 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 amount to approving child labour if 'reasonable wages' are paid to the child. Additionally, the fines imposed under the Act are paltry and hardly serve as a deterrent. The Report of the Second Indian National Labour Commission, 2002 has recommended repeal of the Act. The Report points out that provisions relating to pledging of child labour can be incorporated as part of the criminal law of the country.
The provisions of this Act are not in sync with the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 which is now in place to determine where, and under what conditions children can be employed. In addition, proposed amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, in 2014, seek to outlaw all forms of child labour. The provisions of this Act will be in conflict with these progressive amendments.