Child rights are a branch of human rights which are universally applicable to children below the age of 18 years as stated by the internationally accepted United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Child Rights include:
- Right to education (Article 21A),
- Right against trafficking and bonded labour (Article 23)
- Right against child labour (Article 24)
- maintenance of a child (Section 20 of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act,1956)
- Prohibition of child marriage (Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006)
- Right against corporal punishment,
- Right against child sexual abuse,
- Right against child pornography (Information Technology Act,2000 and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act,1956)
Before the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill was passed in India, cases under child sexual abuse were dealt under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code under the following sections-
- Sec 375 – Rape
- Sec 376 – Punishment for rape
- Sec 377 – Unnatural practices, sodomy
- Sec 354 – Outraging the modesty of a woman or girl
- Sec 509 – Insulting the modesty of a woman
Article 21-A provides free provisions for free and compulsory education to children between the age of 6-14 years of age.
Right to Education as a Fundamental as well as a part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty was affirmed in the case of Unni Krishnan, J.P and Ors v.State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. The provisions for education to minorities is given under Article 30 of the constitution.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2009 is the Act enacted by the Parliament with the Right to Education (Article 21A). Following are few features of this Act-
- Free and compulsory education to children between the age of 6 to 14 years until his completion of an elementary school in his neighbourhood school
- 25% of seats are to be reserved for underprivileged children in non-minority and unaided schools
- Appropriately trained teachers are to be appointed
- The first-time student who has been enrolled must be admitted to an age-appropriate class