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Ambiguity in Definition of Child

Ambiguity in Definition of Child mind map
Various Acts Over Years
Different Objectives
of Each Law
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Below 18 Years
Unless Majority Attained Earlier
Indian Laws
Child Labour (Protection and Regulation) Act, 1986
Below 14 Years
Plantations Labour Act, 1951
Below 15 Years
Below 12 Years for Plantation Work
Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961
Below 15 Years
Beedi and Cigar Workers Act, 1966
Below 14 Years
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Below 21 Years for Males
Below 18 Years for Females
Juvenile Justice Act, 2015
Below 18 Years
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
Below 18 Years
Child and Adolescent Labour Act, 1986 (Amended 2016)
Age Group 14-18 Years
Right to Education Act, 2009
Age 6-14 Years
Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (Amended 1986)
Below 14 Years
Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram
Adolescents Aged 10-19 Years
Legislation Enacted
for Child Welfare
and Protection
Significance of proper definition
Addressing Specific Needs
of Different Age Groups
Protection in Various Contexts
Work, Education, Marriage
Implementation Difficulties
Due to Varying Definitions
Ambiguity in Protection Measures
Inconsistent Application
Across Different Laws
Prone to Abuse and Exploitation
Child Labour Issues
Sexual Violence Cases
Way Forward
Need for Uniform Definition
Across All Laws

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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