GUWAHATI, Nov 2 - The Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and MM Sengar, child rights activist, have challenged in the Gauhati High Court the constitutional validity of the Child Labour Act -1986, highlighting the fact that the said Act is ultra vires on the basis of constitutional provisions, international laws and Supreme Court judgements.
The petitioners highlighted in detail the plight of children in Assam as well as in the rest of the country and prayed to the court to direct the Government of India to eliminate the difference in the definition of a child by age as prescribed by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Child Labour ( Prohibition and Regulation) Act,1986 to a conformity of 18 years, as per the commitment to the UN Committee on Rights of the Child .
The matter will be heard again on December 11.
Advocate Debasmita Ghosh represented the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, while Sengar represented himself (petitioner in person).
Chief Justice (Acting) T Vaiphei and Justice PK Saikia issued notice to the Government of India, asking it to file a reply on the same before December 11.
The petitioners had filed the writ petition in public interest under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, challenging the constitutional validity of Section 2(ii), Part II and Part III of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and calling for upholding the provisions of the Constitution of India for protection of children by eliminating unlawful child labour practices across the country and preventing commercial and other exploitation of children from hazardous and other work, which becomes a hindrance to their comprehensive development and leads to deprivation of primary, secondary and higher education.