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Feb 13, 2018 09:58 PM IST | Source: PTI

Revive supervisory panel to end child labour: HC to Maharashtra government

A bench of justices S C Dharamadhikari and Bharati Dangre directed the state to revive this committee which was first constituted in 2007 and which eventually went defunct.

Observing that child labour continued to rob countless children across the state of their childhood, the Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to revive its supervisory committee to prevent instances of child labour in the future.

A bench of justices S C Dharamadhikari and Bharati Dangre directed the state to revive this committee which was first constituted in 2007 and which eventually went defunct.

The supervisory committee, headed by the state chief secretary, was tasked with preventing instances of child labour, rescuing and rehabilitating children below the age of 14 who were already employed in hazardous conditions, and implementing all constitutional provisions on child rights.

The bench also directed that since the chief secretary might presumably be busy with several other duties, the additional chief secretary of the state be made the authority that is held directly accountable for the committee's day-to- day functions.

"Losing one's childhood under the weight of machines, or in the gloomy rooms of some industry, is the harshest thing that a child can face. Child labour robs a child's childhood," the bench said.

"Children, who are the future, need not be engaged in such activities as it hampers not just their growth, but the growth of the nation itself," it said.

"We therefore, expect the state government to revive the said supervisory committee as mentioned in the government resolution dated July 3, 2007. The committee must also conduct periodical follow­up of the implementation of the policy of the state government to eradicate the menace of child labour," it said.

The bench was hearing a suo moto public interest litigation on child labour.

During the previous hearing last week, it had noted that despite constitutional provisions mandating that no children below the age of 14 be employed under hazardous conditions, and the RTE Act mandating that all children below the age of 14 be provided with free and compulsory education, the state had done little to implement them.
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