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A Study to Identify the Causes of Child Labour at Jagat Farm

Anubhav Chatterjee, Aman Soni & Yuvaraj Kumar Shah are law students at Galgotias University

Published onNov 24, 2020
A Study to Identify the Causes of Child Labour at Jagat Farm


Child labour is undoubtedly a human rights issue. It is not only exploitative but also endangers children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and moral development. It perpetuates poverty because a child labour, deprived of education or healthy physical development, is likely to become an adult with low earning prospects. This is a vicious cycle which apart from ruining the lives of many results in an overall backwardness in the masses.

Moreover, conceptualising child labour as a human rights issue gives the victim with the authority to hold violators liable. Human rights generate legal grounds for political activity and expression, because they entail greater moral force than ordinary legal obligations. Children are right holders with the potential to make valuable contributions to their own present and future well-being as well as to the social and economic development of the society and thus they should under no circumstances be perceived as passive and vulnerable.

Today, traditionally prescribed interventions against child labour which were welfare based like providing a minimum age for work are being replaced by rights-based approach. A rights-based approach to child labour needs to be adopted which puts internationally recognized rights of children to the center while utilizing UDHR, ICCPR and ICESCR as a supportive framework. Child labour is a condition from which the children have a right to be free and it is not merely an option for which regulating standards must be devised.

In this paper we shall identify the causes of Child Labour in Jagat Farms, Greater Noida and analyse the same along with necessary suggestions.

Keywords: Child Labour; Jagat Farms; Human Rights.


Since ages, Child Labour has been one of the biggest issues for developing countries. It is a challenge and long-term goal in many countries to abolish all forms of child labour. Especially in developing countries, it is considered as a serious issue these days. Children working are often mistreated and forced to work for prolonged hours, in very bad conditions. This can affect their health physically, mentally and emotionally. These children do not have the basic rights like access to school or health care or to create their unions.

Child Labour according to ILO could be defined as any work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and dignity and that is also harmful to their physical and mental development. Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many of them are deprived of proper nutrition and care. They are not able to enjoy their childhood. Most of them involved in the worst forms of child labour such as work in perilous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour and illegal activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

The industrial revolution with people migrating to the urban areas in search of jobs and a livelihood marked the beginning of child labour. Children on account of their innocence and helplessness became hapless victims in the new industrial era of increased production, competition and an unlimited opportunity to make money and businesses looking for a cheap and unquestioning labour force. Most of us would recall the little boy with a twinkle in his eye cleaning the dinner table in our weekend eat out, a High-Five into his small palm and a pat on his back would be the only two gestures we would do before walking out uneasily cursing his fate. He is among the millions of this nation's underprivileged and exploited children running the embroidery looms, toiling in the dark and dinghy rooms, cutting his fingers and the silkworms infecting his wounds to keep our womenfolk fashionable and the merchants wealthy. He is inhaling the fumes and toxic chemicals in the match and fireworks industries so we could have well polished floors and make merry during Diwali, he is probably languishing in the wayside dhaba while we are writing this, polishing our shoes as we rush to work the next morning, accompanying the truck driver as a cleaner boy and engaging himself in an endless list of adult activities to earn a square meal for himself and his family.

According to ILO (2013) the largest numbers of child labourers are working in hazardous work and the total number of child workers is increasing, even though it is forbidden by law. These children are vulnerable to diseases and they struggle with long-term physical and psychological pain. The main cause that induces children to work is poverty. These children work for their survival and their families.

The international organisations have made great efforts to eliminate child labour across the world. Many countries have approved and adopted various acts, legislations and provisions to prohibit child labour. For example “THE CHILD LABOUR (PROHIBITION AND REGULATION) ACT 1986” prohibited children under the age of 14 years to practice occupations which are hazardous to them. The Act was amended in 2016 and increased the penalty on those who appointed child Labour and also allowed children below the age of 14 to help their families in their work but without the expense of their school hours. Child labour is widespread throughout the world. It is not an easy task for low income countries to achieve banning child labour. Several studies and international organizations have considered that education is the key strategy to address child labour, and it can help children to stay away from work. However, every family cannot afford schooling for their children because of being economically backward. Therefore even better ways should be thought of and implemented if we are to end Child Labour.


Child Labour is a serious problem and a challenge for many developing countries. India has enacted various laws and taken various initiatives to eradicate Child Labour but still this problem is widespread throughout the country. This Research work critically examines the issue of child labour in “JAGAT FARMS”, a huge market in Greater Noida City of northern Uttar Pradesh.

The Main Objectives of this Research Work are:-

  • To find out the number of children working as child labourers in “Jagat Farms”.

  • To find the age group of children working in “Jagat Farms”.

  • To find whether they are aware of the “labour law” with regards to children.


On the basis of the earlier studies, personal observations, discussions with intellectuals, available reports on child workers and my field study, certain hypotheses were framed. They are as follows:-

  • Child Labour is prevalent in Jagat Farms.

  • Most of the employed children are socially backward and economically poor.

  • The earnings of the children are very meager and it is not sufficient for them.

  • Economic instability of the families is mainly responsible for children taking up employment.

  • The Government initiatives taken are not applied properly and are not kept a check off by the officials.


In this project we are using Non-Doctrinal or Empirical form of Research. Empirical form of research simply depends on observation and experience. It does not rely on theories. In Empirical research the researcher tries to collect knowledge or information from first hand study or primary data related to his particular matter or topic and after analysis and interpretation of those information he draws out the conclusion of that research work. Empirical research methods are a class of research method in which researcher through the field surveys, collect observations or data in order to answer particular research questions or to clarify his hypothesis.


In this research, we have used the attributive sampling method to attain our objectives. We have asked questions to the children individually and not divided them on the basis of their work.

The sample size for us is 12. We interviewed 12 children in Jagat Farms based on the Questionnaire that we framed. We have done our analysis and interpretation based upon the answers given by the 12 children. The Questionnaire is attached at the end of this project.


The method of data collection is through Questionnaire. Questionnaire is an instrument of Research consisting of a number of questions for the purpose of gathering information from the respondents. This method acts as a great source for the collection of the data from the diverse and scattered group of people. A questionnaire consists of a variety of the questions printed or typed in a definite order on a form which the respondents have to answer on their own.

In this research, we framed a questionnaire for the Child Labourers in Jagat Farms and individually asked them the questions and took their respective views. The Questionnaire has been put in the end of this research.


The First part of this Research work introduces the topic that we have chosen. It first gives you a general concept of Child Labour and then it tells you the objectives behind this Research. It then discusses the Hypothesis that we assumed at the beginning of this research. It also tells you the Research Methodology we applied for this Study and the method of Data Collection.

The Second part of this research tells you the Acts and provisions that the law of the land has framed for the practice of Child Labour. It also tells you the recent reforms that have taken place in respect to the problem of Child Labour. It also highlights some of the leading cases on Child Labour in India.

The Third part analyses the whole data collected with the help of “Bar-Graphs” and “Pie-Charts” and gives us an idea of the present situation of Child Labour in Jagat Farms. It gives us the exact information about how “Child Labour” as a problem should be approached.

The Final part concludes the Research with some suggestions and recommendations on how Child Labour could be dealt with in a better way. It also tells that what we as an individual could do to eradicate Child Labour.


In order to implement the constitutional and international obligation towards eradication of child labour in different occupations, various Acts and Legal Provisions had been introduced by the Government. Some of them are discussed below:-

The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933

The Act declares that an agreement, oral or written, express or implied to pledge the labour of child below 15 years of age by the child’s parents, guardians as void and makes the contracting parties, liable for penalties.6 Under this Act, ‘Child’ means a person who has not completed the age of 15 years.7 This Act was passed with an intention to protect child from exploitation in various hazardous occupations.

The Employment of Children Act, 1938

The Employment of Children Act, 1938 which had been in force till repealed and replaced by Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. The main object of the Act was to prevent exploitation of child labour in workshops and other specified occupations and to regulate the employment of children in certain industrial employments. The Act was passed to implement the Convention adopted by the 23rd Session of International Labour Organization (1937), which inserted a special Article on India. Children under the age of 13 years shall not be employed or work in the transport of passengers, or goods or mails by rail, or in the handling of goods at docks, quays of wharves, but excluding transport by hand. Children under the age of 15 years shall not be employed to work in occupations to which this Article applies which are scheduled as dangerous or unhealthy by the competent authority.1

Factories Act, 1948

The Factories Act, 1948 prohibits employment of a child below 14 years in any factory. This Act, extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Section 67 of the Act, enacts an absolute prohibition of employment of a child in any factory. It means no child below the age of 14 years can be asked to work or if he himself wants to work can be permitted to work in any factory. The provision is intended to safeguard the needy children who may like to work at the cost of their health and life. The Act distinguishes between ‘child’,‘ adolescent’ and ‘adult.’ ‘Child’ is a person who has not completed the age of 15 years ; an ‘adolescent’ is a person who has completed age of 18 years and an ‘adult’ is a person who has completed the age of 18 years.2

The Plantation of Labour Act, 1951

It applies to plantations in Tea, Coffee, Rubber or Cinchona, etc in which 30 or more persons are employed. It prohibited the employment of children less than twelve years in plantation. The child worker (A person who has completed 15 years) can be allowed to work if employed only between 6 am. and 7 pm. The total maximum working hours in a week for a child and an adolescent prescribed under the Act, are 40 hours. A child who has completed his twelfth year and adolescent will not be allowed to work in any plantation unless he is certified to be fit by a duly appointed certifying surgeon and such a child or adolescent is required to carry with him while he is at work a token giving a reference of such certificate. The certificate granted under section 27 of this Act, remains valid for a period of one year. The Act, prescribed a few welfare measures in the nature of suitable rooms for the use of children below the age of 6 years and education for the children of worker employed in plantation.3

The Mines Act, 1952

This Act extends to the whole of India. This Act defines child as a person who has not completed his 15 years. The Act not only prohibits the employment of children in mines, but also prohibits the presence of children in any part of a mine which is below ground or in any open cast working in which any mining operation is being carried on. Even an adolescent is not allowed to work in any part of a mine which is below ground, unless he has completed his 16th year and has a medical certificate of fitness for work. A certificate is valid only for twelve months. Under the Act, adolescent is allowed to be employed in any mine except between 6 am and 6 pm.4

Radiation Protection Rules, 1971

Children below 18 years of age are not to be employed at places where radiation takes place.5

The Child Labour Amendment(Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2016

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act is an outcome of various recommendations made by a series of Commissions. This legislation was enacted to reform the legal measure, as the policy of both Prohibition and Regulation. The legislation was originally applicable from 1986 but has gone through many changes and has been recently amended in 2016.

The main features of the present Act are

It prohibits employment of children in most employments as detailed in the Schedule as Processes and Occupations. Most of them are hazardous in nature but the term hazardous has not been defined; (ii) It intends to regulate employment of children in all establishments except those prohibited ones; (iii) It provides for a Child Labour Technical Advisory Committee to advise the Central Government in matters of further prohibition, regulation etc ; (iv) Regulatory provisions made fixing the number of hours, period of work, prohibition of overtime, double employment, provision of weekly holidays etc; (v) Requirement of the employer to give notice to Inspectors, maintenance of register, display of notice; provision for health and safety are also in Part III ; (vi) It provides for minimum penalty of imprisonment for 3 months and maximum one year and minimum fine of Rs. 10,000 and maximum fine of Rs. 20,000. Almost all the violations of the regulatory and mandatory provisions are declared as offence under the Act; (vii) Any person can file a complaint but only a Metropolitan Magistrate can take cognizance of any offence; and finally; and (viii) The provisions made under the present Act is declared to be in addition to the provisions and protections of children already existing in other enactments.6


Under the child labour law in India known as the Child Labour Amendment (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2016 any person who employs a child or an adolescent in any illegal labour work will be punished.

  • Punishment for employing a child (Below 14 years of age)

The punishment for employing a child is imprisonment between six months and two years and/or a fine between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 50,000. For instance, employing a 12 year old child in a matchstick factory is illegal and punishable under the law. However, the Court will decide if only jail time is sufficient or if a fine needs to be paid as well.7

  • Punishment for employing an adolescent (14-18 years of age)

The punishment for employing an adolescent in any illegal occupation, is imprisonment for a period between six months and two years and/or fine between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 50,000 and imprisonment between one to three years if a person continues with child labour after having been punished once. For example, employing a 16-year-old boy in a mine is punishable both under the child labour law as well as the The Mines Act, 1952. Under the Mines Act, if a person below eighteen years of age is employed in a mine, the owner, agent or manager of such mine shall be punished with a fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

  • Punishment for parents

Parents who force their children to work in family businesses or as child artists (without letting them go to school) or any prohibited occupations under the law can be punished. The law punishes them the first time with a warning but if the child is made to work again illegally then they can be punished with a fine of up to Rs 10,000.

  • Responsibility of an employer hiring a child for work

Every employer who employs an adolescent working in his establishment has to perform certain duties under the law.

Firstly, the employer has to maintain a register which would have details of the adolescent such as name and date of birth, hours and periods of work of the adolescent, intervals of rest and nature of work performed by any such adolescent.

Secondly, the employer has to ensure that the child or adolescent is provided with the highest standards of safety and care. They have to do this by making sure that proper Working Hours and Days and Health and Safety measures are provided. This includes providing a safe environment which is clean and hygienic.

Employers have to ensure that facilities such as drinking water, latrines, urinals, protective gear for eyes and body, etc. are provided. Proper instructions should be given to adolescents for handling dangerous machines and training and supervision should be given to adolescents for handling dangerous machinery.

Thirdly, the employer has to send a notice to the Inspector, who is a Government appointed official whose duty is to make sure there is no illegal employment and that the permitted employment of adolescents is done as per the law. Within 30 days of hiring the adolescent, the employer has to send a notice with the name and location of the establishment, name of the employer, nature of the employment and the work done by the establishment.

Employers who do not fulfill these duties given under the law will be punished. The punishment is imprisonment for a maximum period of a month or a fine of maximum Rs. 10,000 or both.8

Judicial Decisions and Child Labour

The response of the judiciary with regard to Child Labour in India is highly commendable. It has in real sense brought a revolution in the field of child labour in India. It has always endeavored to expand and develop the scope of law so as to respond to the hope and aspirations of the framers of the Constitution as well as the people of India.

Time and again, it has pronounced glorious judgments for eliminating the problem of child labour in India. With regard to child labour in India, Justice Subba Rao, the former Chief Justice of India, rightly remarked; “Social justice must begin with the child. Unless a tender plant is properly nourished, it has little chance of growing into strong and useful tree. So, first priority in the scale of justice should be given to the welfare of children. Supreme Court has played an important Role to control the problem of child labour and has shown its concern for child labour by bringing occupations or processes under the courts order by the direct application of constitutional provisions.9

In Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India,10 commonly known as ‘Asiad workers case’, it was brought to the notice of the Supreme Court that children below 14 years of age employed in the construction work. It was held that construction work is clearly a hazardous occupation and it is absolutely essential that the employment of children under the age of 14 years must be prohibited in every type of construction work.

In Labourers, Salal Hydro Project v. State of Jammu and Kashmir11 Bhagavati J. with R.S.Pathak and Amarendra Nath Sen JJ., delivered another valuable decision to protect the interest of large number of child labourers working in the construction of Salal Hydro Project, a hazardous work. The court was constrained to remark that the problem of child labour is a difficult problem and it is purely an account of economic reasons that parents often want their children to be employed in order to be able to make both ends meet. The court said that this is an economic problem and it cannot be solved merely by legislation. So long as there is poverty and destitution in the country, it will be difficult to eradicate child labour.

In M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu and others,12 Supreme Court allowed children to work in a prohibited occupation like fireworks. Ranganath Mishra and M.H.Kania JJ. opined that “the provisions of Article 45 of Constitution in the Directive Principles of State policy still remained a far cry and through according to this provision”, all children upto the age of fourteen years are supposed to be in the school, but economic necessity forces grown-up children to seek employment. Children can, therefore, be employed in the process of packing of fireworks but packing should be done in an area away from the place of manufacture to avoid exposure to accident.13

In Sheela Barse v. Union of India,14 it was held that child is a national asset, and it is the duty of the state to look after the child with a view to assuring full development of its personality. Judicial institutions have played a significant role not only for resolving disputes but also has always endeavoured to expand and develop the law so as to respond to the hopes and aspirations of the people who are looking to the judiciary to give life and content to law.15

With a view to safeguard the interest of bonded child labourer Supreme Court delivered a judgment with important observation in a leading case in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India and others.16 On behalf of the Court, Justice Bhagwati remarked that “it is a problem which needs urgent attention of the Government of India and the State Governments and when the Directive Principles of State Policy have obligated the Central and State Government to take steps and adopt measures for the purpose of ensuring social justice to the have-nots and the handicapped. It is not right on the part of the concerned governments to shut their eyes to the inhuman exploitation to which the bonded labourers are subjected…….” It is therefore essential that which ever be the State Government it should, where there is bonded labour, admit the existence of such bonded labour, and make all possible efforts to eradicate it. By doing so, it will not only be performing a humanitarian function, but also discharging a constitutional obligation and strengthening the foundations of participatory democracy in the country.

The Supreme Court of India in Rosy Jacob v. Jacob A, Chakramakal,17 observed that “The children are not mere chattels; nor are they mereplay things for their parents. Absolute rights of parents over the destinies and the lives of their children has in the modern changed social conditions, yielded to the considerations of their welfare as human beings so that they may grow up in a normal balanced manner to be useful members of the society…”

In M.C. Mehta and Bandhua Mukti Morcha cases, Supreme Court, of course, delivered landmark judgments but while observing both the judgments it appears that full scale of abolition of child labour of all types was not aimed. The court was conscious about practicality. Total banishment of employment may drive the children into destitution and other mischievous environment, making them vagrant, hard criminals and social risks etc. Therefore, while exploitation of the child must be progressively banned, other simultaneous alternatives to the child should be evolved including providing education, health care, nutrient food, shelter and other means of livelihood with self-respect and dignity of person. Immediate ban of child labour would be both unrealistic and counterproductive.18



    a. 0-6

    b. 6-10

    c. 10-14

    d. 14-18


    a. Went to school

    b. never went to school

    c. School and work both


    a. Local

    b. Outsider


    a. Family Income Problems

    b. Other Problems


    a. Treated well

    b. Not treated well



    a. 2000-3000

    b. 3000-4000

    c. 4000-5000

    d. 5000-6000



    a. aware about the laws

    b. have rough knowledge about the laws

    c. not aware of the laws


When we went there to Jagat Farms, we could spot a few boys selling mobile covers, working in food stalls, general stores etc. On asking them the age, they would hesitate and we all knew this. We also knew that we would have to ask them questions as a friend or else we could scare them. We first asked them general questions like where they were from, were they locals, what work they did here, appreciating their work, slowly and gradually we asked them the deeper questions, the questions that would have otherwise made them uncomfortable.

On conducting their survey, we found that most of them either had left schools or were illiterate. When we asked them the question on why did they leave school, we got more of a common answer and that was, “due to

family problems”, family income being low forces the children to work in the age when they would rather want to spend their time playing. We met a 9 year old child, small in stature, selling mobile covers; we met children coming from different localities to earn a living for themselves and their families.

We also found that children were somehow given very less salaries and were not satisfied with their owners. They said that they did not have enough salary to earn a living for themselves, forget their families.

We also found out that the children, most of them, were not aware of the laws relating to Child Labours and Labourers as a whole. Even if they knew, they had a very vague idea of the laws. Some were not knowing about the minimum wages given to a labourer while some gave us the exact amount that should be given to a labourer in a day, not a penny less or more. It gave us an assumption that they must have been told by their owners what exactly should be given to them.

On asking them their opinion on the failures of The Rights and Provisions made by the government, some of them told us that the laws were not implemented in the rural areas and the people were not fully aware of them. Moreover, the people in villages gave more emphasis on working and earning rather than education.

In the end, although going through a lot of strangely stares and thoughts of us being cops by the owners of the child labourers, it was a great learning experience for the guys.


Even after making so many Acts and Provisions and statutes, the exploitation of children by different profit makers for their personal gains continues to remain in the society. The hypothesis that we assumed at the beginning of this Research, were somehow accurate and the assumptions were perfect. Child Labour exists in Jagat Farm and the main reason for it is the Economic Instabilities within the family. Moreover, the earnings of children are very less and are not enough for them to live a normal life.

The solution to child labour could come only with a genuine change of heart and concern to fellow human beings until then we need to constantly educate the people on how unfair and unjust it is to employ child labour. Real liberation is possible only when the economic divide between the rich and the poor is narrowed and parents are not compelled to send their children to work as the only means to survive. While you may be able to deter employers from hiring children through strict implementation of child laws, policing and imposing high penalties on defaulters, how are we going to tackle the larger issue of making good the loss in revenue to the family whose only sustenance was the income the child was bringing in? Saving the child from an exploiting employer and leaving the family with no other option could be like a shift from the boiling water to the fire. While the exploiter would go on with his business with adult employers after paying the penalty it is the rescued child and his/her family that needs to face the uncertainty of losing their source of income.

The least we could do as individuals when we come across a child in harness of any kind is to be considerate to him/her as we would be to our own young ones, we may not be able to save him or support him but a little kindness, forgiveness and generosity could make a world of difference to the unfortunate child and make his world a shade better.


  1. The present title of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 should be amended as Child Labour (Prohibition and Rehabilitation) Act, so that more focus should be given to rehabilitation rather than regulation.

  2. The Employment of children in any other employment including Agricultural /Farm Sector should be made a cognizable offence, non- bailable and non-compoundable.

  3. A separate and independent body should be constituted under Labour Ministry at Centre, State and District level for monitoring the affairs of child labourers after 14 years who were rehabilitated and mainstreamed.

  4. Every State Government shall frame Rules under the Right to Education Act, 2009 immediately for the proper implementation of the provisions of the Act.

  5. Laws on child labour and Education should be implemented in a mutually supportive way.

  6. Government should encourage the NGOs for elimination of child labour by granting proper budget periodically and accountability should be fixed on NGOs to ensure that the funds are utilized for the purpose for which it is given

  7. It is suggested to give more focus on implementation and enforcement of child labour laws and other laws meant for the protection of the children.

It is humbly submitted that, if all the above suggestions are implemented, the menace of child labour can be effectively tackled and eventually it can be eradicated.

List of Cases:

  • Peoples Union For Democratic V. Union Of India & Others, (1982) AIR 1982, SC 1473.

  • Labourers, Salal Hydro Project v. State of Jammu and Kashmir, AIR 1984 SC 177.

  • Beedi Workers Union v. State of Tamil Nadu and others, AIR 1991 SC216.

  • K.C. Chandra Segaram v. State of Tamil Nadu and others, AIR 1993, SC 404.

  • M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu and others, AIR 1997, SC 699.

  • Sheela Barse v. Union of India, AIR 1986 SC 1873.

  • Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India and others, 1984 2, SCR.

  • Rosy Jacob v. Jacob A, Chakramakal, 1973, 1, SC 840.


For the completion of this research, I took help from various books, articles, websites, and legal research engines such as Manupatra. Some of them are listed below.


  • BAHARA, D S: Child labour: Dimensions and issues. (Cyber Teh Pub, New Delhi, 2008).

  • AHMAD, M: Child labour in Indian politics. (Kalpaz Pub. Delhi, 2004).

  • DASGUPTA, B : Child labour and society. (Oxford Univ Press, New Delhi, 1997).


  • A-MOHAN, Saumitra : Rehabilitating the Child Labour. (Administrator, Vol. 50 No. 2 December, 2009, p-72).

  • CHATTERJEE, Soumitra Kumar : Judicial trends in the context of child labour in India. (Labour & Industrial Cases, vol 40, Part 3, March 2007, p 86).

  • GUPTA, S: Rights of child and child labour : A critical study. (Journal of Indian Law Institute, vol 37, No 4, Oct – Dec 1995, p 531).

Web References:

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