An August 29 article in the Hindustan Times outlines the difficulties in establishing consistent classification of children and adolescents, as India struggles to implement a dizzying array of laws that deal with children.
Child advocates complain that a recent decision to deal with child labor violations outlined in the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition) Act, through the Juvenile Justice Act will likely muddy the issue, since the two laws do not share a common definition of adolescent.
India ratified the U.N. Convention on Child Rights in 1991, and subsequently amended the Juvenile Justice Act to match the definition of a child as a person under the age of eighteen. Two laws that address employment have contradictory definitions of adolescents.
Government regulations as well contain inconsistent definitions of children and adolescents.
India, a country of over one billion people, has massive numbers of children employed in child labor.
Child Labour Prohibition – Adolescents are between 14 and 18
Minimum Wages Act – Allows those between 14 and 18 to work
Factories Act – Defines adolescents as between 15 – 18
Juvenile Justice Act – No definition of adolescents. Children are below 18
U.N. Convention on Child Rights – Children are below 18