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Children prohibited to work in Indian circuses

Monday, April 18th, 2011
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New Delhi: Citing fundamental rights, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central government to issue a notification. prohibiting the employment of children in Indian circuses. Circus_children

“In order to protect the fundamental rights of these children under Article 21 of the Constitution, we direct the Centre to issue suitable notification prohibiting their employment in circuses,” a bench of Justice Dalbir Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma said.

The order came in the wake of a petition, which drew the attention of the court to the widespread prevalence of child labour, including in circuses, and also trafficking of children.

The apex court said the children being rescued should be kept in separate rooms or after due verification may be handed over to their parents if they were willing.

It directed the human resource development and the women and children development ministries to prepare a scheme for rehabilitation of the rescued children. The court said the ministries will have to file compliance reports before June 19.

The court is seized of many cases involving child labour and child trafficking, and said it will take these up on issue-to-issue basis in order to deal with the problem.

Welcoming the news, Country Director of The Esther Benjamins Trust – Nepal, Philip Holmes, said, “We are thrilled by this news which seems to be the final nail in the coffin of the exploitative and abusive Indian circus industry. This will make our future rescue and rehabilitation work so much the easier”. The Esther Benjamins Trust commissioned the first research into the problem of trafficked Nepalese children in 2002 and has been conducting rescue operations since 2004 that have spelt freedom for over 700 trafficked children.

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