The Indian Constitution‘s Article 24, a cornerstone of the country’s legal system, serves as a potent guarantee for the rights and welfare of its youngest inhabitants. This important item covers the subject of child labor and is included in Part III of the Constitution, which is concerned with Fundamental Rights.

Article 24 sets a categorical ban on the employment of children under the age of fourteen in dangerous activities with the goal of eradicating child exploitation and abuse. This constitutional clause emphasizes the preservation and welfare of the next generation, which demonstrates India’s dedication to creating a just and equal society for everyone.

What does Article 24 states ?

Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.

  • No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment Provided that nothing in this sub clause shall authorise the detention of any person beyond the maximum period prescribed by any law made by Parliament under sub clause (b) of clause ( 7 ); or such person is detained in accordance with the provisions of any law made by Parliament under sub clauses (a) and (b) of clause ( 7 ).
Landmark cases under Article 24
People’s Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India, AIR 1983 SC 1473
  • The petitioner in People’s Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India studied the working conditions of the employees of several Asiad projects. It was discovered that young people under the age of fourteen had jobs. However, it was argued that as the construction sector was not included in the act’s list of dangerous industries, such work was not in violation of the work of Children Act of 1938.
  • The Court determined that construction labor is a dangerous occupation. Although it has not been specifically stated in the Employment of minors Act of 1938, minors under the age of fourteen shall not be employed in the construction industry. The state administration was also instructed by the court to revise the schedule’s omission to add the construction sector to the list of hazardous sectors.
M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1997 SC 699
  • Shri MC Mehta agreed to use Article 32 in the matter of M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu, allowing the court to examine into the breach of children’s fundamental rights protected by Article 24. Sivakasi was seen as a major offender since it used a lot of kid laborers. It was involved in the production of fireworks and matches. The Court noted that this met the criteria for a hazardous industry. As a result, it is against the law to employ anybody under the age of 14 in this field.
  • The Court underlined that minors under the age of fourteen shall not work in any dangerous industries and that it is important to ensure that all children receive an education up until the age of 14. The Court also took into account Article 39(e), which states that children should not be mistreated while still young and should have opportunity to grow up in a healthy way. As a result, the Court decided that Sivakasi, the employer, shall pay a fine of Rs. 20,000 for hiring children in violation of the 1986 Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act.


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