To summarize, the definition of a ‘child’ in Indian laws varies across different acts, each tailored to its specific context and objectives. This variance ranges from under 14 years in labor-related laws to under 18 years in juvenile justice and sexual offenses laws, with special provisions in laws concerning education and marriage. While these diverse definitions aim to cater to the unique needs of different age groups, they also create challenges in implementing child protection uniformly, leading to potential loopholes and inconsistencies in safeguarding children’s rights. The way forward suggests a harmonized definition of ‘child’ across all legislations to ensure coherent and effective child protection measures.
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