Observing that labour “robs a child’s childhood”, the Bombay High Court has recently directed the Maharashtra government to revive its supervisory committee to prevent instances of child labour. “Losing one’s childhood under the weight of machines, or in gloomy rooms of some industry is the harshest thing that a child can face. Child labour robs a child’s childhood,” the court said, adding: “The 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.”
A bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre, after hearing a suo motu public interest litigation on child labour, directed the state to revive the committee constituted in 2007 that eventually became defunct. “We 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 follow-up of the implementation of the policy of state government to eradicate the menace of child labour,” said the bench.
This committee, headed by the state chief secretary, is tasked with preventing instances of child labour, rescuing and rehabilitating children below the age of 14, who are already employed under hazardous conditions, and implementing all constitutional provisions on child rights.
The bench also said since the chief secretary might presumably be busy with several other duties, the additional chief secretary of the state be made the authority who would be held directly accountable for day-to-day functions of the committee.