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Child Labour Law and Regulations in India

Child Labour Act in India - Child Labour Age in India - IndiaFilings

Child Labour Law and Regulations in India

Child labour deprives children of their childhood and is harmful to their physical and mental development. The Government provides free education to all children and has taken various steps to prevent child labour in India. However, child labour continues to be a problem in various parts of India due to poverty, lack of good schools and the growth of the informal economy. If all Entrepreneurs in the country decide to take steps to abolish child labour and help needy children receive education during their childhood, a vibrant and robust India can be created. “Knowledge will set you free” – In this article, we provide an overview of the law, rules and regulations on the prevention of child labour in India.

Know more about Labour Laws & Rights in India:

Legal Age for Working in India

Hiring children below the age of 14 years for any kind of work, other than in certain family-based work, is a cognizable offence and will attract a jail term of up to 2 years. Adolescents between the age of 14 – 18 years cannot be employed in any hazardous occupation. Under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012, the parents of the underage child employed can be penalized as well.

Children under 14 Years of Age

Children under the age of 14 years cannot be employed or permitted to work in any occupation or process.

However, this restriction will not apply if a child helps his/her family or family enterprise (which is not a hazardous occupation), after his/her school hours or during vacation. Family in relation to a child means his/her father, mother, brother, sister and father’s sister and brother and mother’s sister and brother.

Also, a child below the age of 14 years will be allowed to work as an artist in the audio-visual entertainment industry, including the advertisement, films, television serials or any other entertainment or sports activities except the circus, subject to conditions and safety measures.

Adolescents – 14 to 18 Years of Age

The Child Labour (Prevention and Regulation) Amendment Act allows adolescents to work in non-hazardous occupations and processes. If an adolescent is employed, the following conditions must be satisfied by the employer:

  • The period of work on each day should be fixed in a manner that no period or work would exceed three hours.
  • The adolescent must have an interval for rest for at least one hour after working for three hours.
  • The total time spent working by an adolescent cannot exceed 6 hours in a day, including the time spent in waiting for work.
  • Adolescents cannot be employed during the hours of 7 PM to 8 AM.
  • Adolescents cannot be made to work overtime.
  • Adolescents cannot work in more than one establishment, at any time.
  • Adolescents must be provided in every week, a holiday of one whole day.

Rules for Employing Adolescents

All employers employing adolescents must maintain a register with the following information:

  • Name and date of birth of every adolescent employed to permitted to work.
  • Hours and periods of work of an adolescent and the intervals of rest to which the adolescent is entitled.
  • The nature of work of any such adolescent.

In addition to the above register, on employing or permitting an adolescent to work in an establishment, the owner of the establishment must send the Local Inspector the following information within 30 days:

  • Name and situation of the establishment.
  • Name of the person in the actual management of the establishment.
  • Address to which communications relating to the establishment must be sent.
  • Nature of the occupation or process carried on in the establishment.

Punishment for Violation of Child Labour Laws

Any person who employs a child or permits any child to work in contravention to the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act is punishable with imprisonment for a term which would not be less than 6 months but which could extend to 2 years. In addition to imprisonment, the employer can also be fined an amount of Rs.20,000 to Rs.50,000.

Hazardous Occupation and Processes

The following occupations and processes have been listed as hazardous under  Section 3 of the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act. Hence, any child below the age of 18 cannot be employed for any of the following:


An occupation connected with:

  1. Transport  of passengers, goods or mails by railway;
  2. Cinder picking,  clearing of an ash pit or building operation in the railway premises;
  3. Work in a catering establishment at  a railway station, involving the movement of  a vendor or any other employee of the establishment  from one platform to another or into or cut off a moving train;
  4. Work relating to the construction of a railway station or with any other work where such work is done close to or between the railway lines;
  5. A port authority  within the limits of any port;
  6. Work relating to the selling of crackers and fireworks in shops with temporary  licences;  
  7. Abattoirs/ slaughter Houses;
  8. Automobile workshop and garages;
  9. Foundries;
  10.  Handling of toxic or inflammable substances or explosives;
  11.  Handloom and power loom industry;
  12.  Mines ( underground and underwater) and collieries ;
  13.  Plastic  units  and fibreglass workshops;
  14.  Employment  of children and domestic   workers or servants;
  15.  Employment of children in dhabas ( roadside eateries), restaurants,  hotels, motels, tea shops, resorts, spas or other recreational centres;
  16. Diving;
  17.  Circus;
  18.  Caring for Elephants.


Any of the following processes:

  1. Bidi- making;
  2. Carpet-weaving  including  preparatory and incidental process thereof;
  3. Cement manufacture,  including bagging of cement;
  4. Cloth printing, dyeing and  weaving including processes, preparatory and incidental to it;
  5. Manufacture of matches, explosives and fireworks;
  6. Mica-cutting and splitting;
  7. Shellac manufacture;
  8. Soap manufacture;
  9. Tanning;
  10.  Wool- cleaning;
  11.  Building and construction industry including processing and polishing of granite stones;
  12.  Manufacture of slate pencils ( including packing);
  13.  Manufacture of products from  agate;
  14.  Manufacturing process using toxic metals and substances, such as lead, mercury, manganese,  chromium,  cadmium, benzene, pesticides and asbestos;
  15. ‘Hazardous process’ as defined in section 2(cb) and ‘dangerous operation’ as notified in Rules under section 87 of the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948);
  16.  Printing as defined in section 2(k)(iv) of the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948);
  17.  Cashew and cashew nut  descaling   and processing;
  18.  Soldering processes in electronics industries;
  19.  “Aggarbatti’ manufacturing ;
  20.   Automobile repairs and maintenance including processes incidental to it,  namely, welding, lathe work, dent beating and painting;
  21.   Brick kilns and roof tiles units;
  22.  Cotton ginning and processing and production  of  hosiery goods;
  23.  Detergent  manufacturing;
  24.  Fabrication workshop ( ferrous and non-ferrous);
  25.  Gem cutting and polishing;
  26.  Handling of chromite and manganese ores;
  27.  Jute textile manufacture and coir making;
  28.  Limekilns and manufacture of lime;
  29.  Lock making;
  30.  Manufacturing processes having  exposure to lead  such as primary and secondary smelting, welding and cutting of lead-painted metal construction, welding of galvanized or zinc silicate, polyvinyl chloride, mixing (by hand)  of  crystal glass mass, sanding or scraping lead paint, burning of lead in enamelling  workshops, lead mining, plumbing cable making, wire patenting, lead casting, type founding  in printing  shops, Store typesetting, assembling of cars, shot-making and lead glass blowing;
  31.  Manufacture of cement pipes, cement products and other related work;
  32.  Manufacturing of glass, glassware including bangles, fluorescent tubes, bulls and other similar glass  products;
  33.   Manufacture of dyes and dyestuff;
  34.    Manufacturing or handling of pesticides and insecticides;
  35.   Manufacturing or processing and handling of corrosive and toxic substances, metal cleaning and photoengraving and soldering processes in the electronic industry;
  36.   Manufacturing of burning coal and coal briquettes;
  37.  Manufacturing of sports goods involving exposure to synthetic materials, chemicals and leather;
  38.  Moulding and processing of fibreglass and plastic;
  39.  Oil expelling and refinery;
  40.  Papermaking;
  41.   Potteries and ceramic industry;
  42.  Polishing, moulding, cutting, welding and manufacture of brass goods in all forms;
  43.  Process in agriculture where tractors, threshing and harvesting machines are used and chaff cutting;
  44.   Sawmill all processes;
  45.   Sericulture processing;
  46.   Skinning, dyeing and processes for manufacturing of leather and leather products;
  47.  Stone breaking and stone crushing;
  48. Tobacco process hag including manufacturing of tobacco, tobacco paste and handling of tobacco in any form;
  49.   Tyre making, repairing, re-treading and graphite beneficiation;
  50.  Utensils making, polishing and metal buffing;
  51.   `Zari making (all processes);
  52.  Electroplating;
  53.  Graphite powdering and incidental processing;
  54.  Grinding or glazing of metals;
  55.   Diamond cutting and polishing;
  56.  Extraction of slate from mines;
  57.  Rag picking and scavenging.
  58.   Processes involving exposure to excessive heat (e.g. working near the furnace) and cold;
  59.  Mechanized fishing;
  60.   Food Processing;
  61.  Beverage Industry;
  62.  Timber handling and loading;
  63.  Mechanical Lumbering.
  64.  Warehousing;
  65.  Processes involving exposure to free silica such as slate, pencil industry, stone grinding, slate stone mining, stone quarries, and agate industry.