The Supreme Court on Monday banned employment of children in circuses and directed the government to rescue minors employed in the sector and formulate a proper programme to rehabilitate them.
Acting on a petition by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO, a bench headed by justice Dalveer Bhandari said the government must issue notification to prohibit employment of children in this sector. The petitioner had sought a direction to the government to rescue and rehabilitate children below 14 working in circuses.
The bench also asked the government to conduct raids to rescue children working in circuses and formulate a proper rehabilitation programme for them.
Seeking a comprehensive affidavit from the government within 10 weeks giving details of the action taken by it in compliance with the court’s order, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on July 19.
The court said it would take up the issue of other kinds of child rights violations on a case-by-case basis and has reserved orders on trafficking at large and child labour for trafficking.
The SC order assumes significance because at present laws in India explicitly direct that children below the age of 14 are not to work in factories.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan founder Kailash Satyarthi welcomed the order, saying, “Judiciary and the Supreme Court have once again shown their concern towards protecting the rights of children. We hope this judgment will have a ripple effect and be enforced in letter and spirit.”