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If any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not and unable to maintain itself, or his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being a married daughter) who has attained majority and where such child is, by reason of any physical or mental abnormality, or injury, unable to maintain itself, a Magistrate of the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make allowance for the maintenance of such child, at such monthly rate as such Magistrate thinks fit.  Any person disobeying such order is liable to imprisonment, which may extend to one month for every default in payment of monthly maintenance.  An application for maintenance of such child can be filed by any person having lawful custody of such child.  

Such an application for maintenance can be filed not only by children born to persons who are Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs or Jainas by caste but also by the children born to Muslims as so held in the case titled Mst. Noorsuba vs. Md. Kasim reported in AIR 1997 SC 3280.


          With the enforcement of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 with effect from 1.4.2002 any child i.e. a person who has not completed 18th year of age: -

(i)       who is found without  any home or settled place of abode and without any ostensible means of subsistence;


(ii)      who resides with a person (whether a guardian of the child or not) and such person;

(a)      has threatened to kill or injure the child and there is a reasonable likelihood of the threat being carried out;


(b)      has killed, abused or neglected some other child or children and there is a reasonable likelihood of the child in question being killed, abused or neglected by that person ;


(iii)     who is mentally or physically challenged, or ill children, or children suffering from terminal diseases or incurable diseases having no one to support or look after ;


(iv)     who has a parent or guardian and such parent or guardian is unfit or incapacitated to exercise control over the child ;


(v)      who does not have parent and no one is willing to take care of, or whose parents have abandoned him, or who is missing and run away child and whose parents cannot be found after reasonable inquiry ;


(vi)     who is being, or is likely to be grossly abused, tortured or exploited for the purpose of sexual abuse or illegal acts ;


(vii)    who is found vulnerable and is likely to be inducted into drug abuse or trafficking ;


(viii)    who is found or is likely to be abused for unconscionable gains ;


(ix)     who is victim of any armed conflict, civil commotion or natural calamity ;

is treated to be a Child in Need of Care and Protection and such child can either himself on his own appear before Child Welfare Committees constituted for every district or group of districts by the state  government or he can be produced  before such committee by:-


 Any police officer or special juvenile police unit or a designated
 police officer ;


 Any public servant ;


 Childline, a registered voluntary organization, or by such other
 voluntary organization or an agency as may be recognized by
 the State Government ;


 Any social worker or a public spirited citizen authorized

Such children shall be kept in Children’s Homes during the pendency of any enquiry and subsequently for their care, treatment, education, training, development and rehabilitation.  Such shelter homes are to function as drop-in- Centers for children in need of urgent support but it shall be the prime objective of such Children’s Homes/Shelter homes to take such steps as are considered necessary for the restoration of and protection to a child deprived of his family environment temporarily or permanently.  Such restoration may be to the parents/adopted parents or foster parents of such children.  

In case of children who are orphaned or where it is not possible to restore the child to his family, he can be given in adoption by Juvenile Justice Board in accordance with the guidelines issued by the State Government in this regard but no child shall be offered for adoption: -


until two members of the Committee declare the child legally free for placement in the case of abandoned children.


till the two months period for reconsideration by the parent is over in the case of surrendered children, and


without his consent in the case of a child who can understand and express his consent.

Any such child can be given in adoption either to a single parent and permission can be granted to the adopting parents to adopt the child of the same sex irrespective of the number of the living biological sons or daughters.


If any person having actual charge of or control over a juvenile or a child assaults, abandons, exposes or neglects him in a manner likely to cause unnecessary mental or physical suffering to him is punishable with imprisonment upto six months and/or fine.  

          Any such person causing any juvenile to beg can be punished with imprisonment upto three years and fine.

          Any person giving or causing to be giving any intoxicating liquor, narcotic drug or psychotropic substance in a public place an accept under medical advice can be punished with imprisonment upto three years and fine.

          Any person procuring a juvenile/child for the purpose of any hazardous employment or keeps him in bondage and withholds his earnings or uses the same for his own purposes can be punished with imprisonment upto three years and fine.  

NOTE: -        In all the four situations mentioned above, the police can take action in the matter without seeking prior orders from the magistrate.


          Any person who has not completed the 18th year of age and who is alleged to have committed an offence punishable under the law is described as “Juvenile in Conflict with Law”.

If he is arrested, the officer incharge of the police station or the special juvenile police unit to which the juvenile is brought shall, as soon as may be after the arrest, inform:-


the parent or guardian of the juvenile, if he can be found of such arrest and direct him to be present before the Juvenile Justice Board before whom the juvenile will be produced; and


the probation officer of such arrest to enable him to obtain information regarding the antecedents and family background of the juvenile and other material circumstances likely to be of assistance to the Board for making the inquiry.

When any person accused of a bailable or non-bailable offence, and apparently a juvenile, is arrested, or detained, or appears, or is brought before a Board, such person shall be released on bail with or without surety but he shall not be so released if there appear reasonable grounds for believing that the release is likely to bring him into association with any known criminal or expose him to moral, physical or psychological danger or that his release would defeat the ends of justice.

When such person having been arrested for a bailable offence is not released on bail by the officer incharge of the police station, such officer shall cause him to be kept only in an observation home until he can be brought before a Board.

When such person who is alleged to have committed a non-bailable offence is not released on bail by the Board it shall, instead of committing him to prison, make an order sending him to an observation home or a place of safety for such period during the pendency of the inquiry regarding him as may be specified in the order.


Where a Juvenile Justice Board is satisfied on inquiry that a juvenile has committed an offence, the board may if it thinks so fit:-


allow the juvenile to go home after advice or admonition following appropriate inquiry against and counseling to the parent or the guardian and the juvenile;


direct the juvenile to participate in group counseling and similar activities;


order the juvenile to perform community service;


order the parent of the juvenile or the juvenile himself to pay a fine, if he is over fourteen years of age and earns money;


direct the juvenile to be released on probation of good conduct and placed under the care of any parent, guardian or other fit person, on such parent, guardian or other fit person executing a bond, with or without surety, as the Board may require, for the good behaviour and well-being of the juvenile for any period not exceeding three years;


direct the juvenile to be released on probation of good conduct and placed under the care of any fit institution for the good behaviour and well-being of the juvenile for any period not exceeding three years;


make an order directing the juvenile to be sent to a special home:-
(i)       in the case of juvenile, over seventeen years but less than eighteen years of age for a period of not less than two years;
(ii)      in case of any other juvenile for the period until he ceases to be a juvenile;

Where an inquiry has been initiated against a juvenile in conflict with law, or a child in need of care and protection, and during the course of such inquiry the juvenile or the child ceases to be such, then, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, the inquiry may be continued and orders may be made in respect t of such person as if such person had continued to be a juvenile or a child.



A juvenile who has committed an offence and has been dealt with under the provision of this Act, shall not suffer any disqualification, if any, attaching to a conviction under such law.


The Juvenile Justice Board is also required to make an order directing that the relevant records of such conviction shall be removed after the expiry of the period of appeal or a reasonable period as prescribed under the rules.

            Any State Government may establish and maintain either by itself or under an agreement with voluntary organizations, observation homes in every district or a group of districts, as may be required, for the temporary reception of any juvenile in conflict with law during the pendency of any inquiry regarding them under this Act.

          Every juvenile who is not placed under the charge of parent or guardian and is sent to an observation home shall be initially kept in a reception unit of the observation home for preliminary inquiries, care and classification for juveniles according to his age group, such as seven to twelve years, twelve to sixteen years and sixteen to eighteen years, giving due considerations to physical and mental status and degree of the offence committed, for further induction into observation home.

No juvenile in conflict with law can be sentenced to death or life imprisonment, or committed to prison in default of payment of fine or in default of furnishing security.


Child labour (prohibition and registration) act, 1986 prohibits the employment of children below fourteen years of age in any of the under mentioned occupations: -


Transport of passengers, goods or mails by railway;



Cinder picking, clearing of an ash pit or building operation in the railway premises;



Work in a catering establishment at a railway station, involving the movement of a vendor or any other employee of the establishment from one platform to another or into or out of a moving train;


Work relating to the construction of a railway station or with any other work where such work is done in close proximity to or between the railway lines;




A port authority within the limits of any port.



(b)      The above quoted Act also prohibits employment of work by any such child in any work shop wherein any of the processes detailed below is carried out: -






Cement manufacture, including bagging of cement


Cloth printing, dyeing and weaving


Manufacture of matches, explosives and fire-works


Mica-cutting and splitting


Shellac manufacture


Soap manufacture






Building and construction industry

(c)      Any person, Police Officer or Inspector of factories can file a complaint of the Commission of an offence under the aforesaid Act in the Court of Metro-politan Magistrate/Magistrate of the first class as the case may be and upon conviction the person employing any such child in any of the occupations or processes specified above can be sentenced to imprisonment which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to one year and fine.


Section 67 of the Factories Act, 1948 prohibits the employment in any factory of any child who has not completed his fourteenth year. However, on the application of any young person i.e. a person above 14 years of age or an adolescent, his parents or guardian duly accompanied with a document signed by the manager of a factory that such person will be employed there if certified to be fit for work in a factory or even on the application of the manager of a factory a certifying surgeon shall examine such person to ascertain his fitness for work in such factory and after a visit such factory he may grant to such young person or to the manager of the factory, a certificate of fitness to work in such factory as an “adult” if he has completed his fifteenth year and the certifying surgeon is satisfied that such adolescent is fit for a full day’s work in a factory.  However, no such young person can be permitted to work in any factory for more than four and a half hours in any day and during the night and shall any such young person be required or allowed to work in any factory on any day on which he has already been working in another factory. The parent or guardian of the child or the persons having custody of or control over him or obtaining any direct benefit from his wages can be punished with fine extending upto thousand rupees.

Where any manufacturing process or operations carried on in a factory expose any person employed therein to a serious risk of body injury, poisoning or disease, the State Government can prohibit or restrict the employment of children, adolescents or even women in such manufacturing process or operations.

Moreover no child worker can be allowed or required to work in any factory unless his name and other particulars have been entered in the register of child workers to be maintained by the manager of every factory and which register has to be made available to the inspector of factories at all times during working hours.  It may be mentioned here that factory as defined in the Factories Act 1948 means any premises including the precincts thereof: -

(i)                Whereon ten or more workers are working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on


(ii)             Whereon twenty or more workers are working, or were working only any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on without the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on, but does not include a mine subject to the operation of (The Mines Act, 1952), (a mobile unit belonging to the armed forces of the Union, a railway running shed or a hotel, restaurant or eating place).


          This is an enactment to restrain the solemnization of child marriages.  “Child” under this Act means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty one years of age, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age.

          “Child Marriage” means a marriage to which either of the contracting parties is a child.

          Whoever performs, conducts or directs any child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment, which may extend upto 3 months and shall also be liable to fine, unless he proves that he had reason to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage.  

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