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Be it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-seventh Year of the Republic of India as follows:

Social and beneficial legislation – Social legislation is designed to protect the interest of a class of society who, because of their economic conditions, deserves such protection. With a view to pass the test of reasonable classification there must exist intelligible differentia between persons or thing grouped togeth


(A) Short title, extent and commencement:-
(1) This Act may be called the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
(2) It extends to the whole of India.
(3) The provisions of this Act, other then Part III, shall come into force at once, and Part III shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different States and for different classes of establishments.

May and shall – Where the Legislature uses two words “may” and “shall” in two different parts of the same provision, prima facie it would appear that the Legislature manifested its intension to make one part directory and another mandatory. But that by itself is not decisive. The power of the Court still to ascertain the real intension of the Legislature by carefully examining the scope of statute to find out whether the provision is directory or mandatory remains unimpaired even where both the words are used in the same provision.

In interpreting the provisions the exercise undertaken by the Court is to make explicit the intention of the Legislative which enacted the legislation. It is not for the Court to reframe the legislation for the very good reason that the powers to “legislate” have not been conferred on the Court.

In order to sustain the presumption of constitutionality of a legislative measure, the Court can take into consideration matters of common knowledge, matters of common report, the history of the times and also assume every state of facts which can be conceived existing at the time of the legislation.

  2. Definitions:– In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires.  
  1. “appropriate Government” means, in relation to an establishment under the control of the Central Government or a railway administration or a major port or a mine or oilfield, the Central Government, and in all other cases, the State Government;
  2. “child“ means a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age;
  3. “day” means a period of twenty-four hours beginning at midnight;
  4. “establishment” includes a shop, commercial establishment, work-shop, farm, residential hotel, restaurant, eating-house, theatre or other place of public amusement or entertainment;
  5. “family” in relation to an occupier, means the individual, the wife or husband, as the case may be, of such individual, and their children, brother or sister of such individual;
  6. “occupier”, in relation to an establishment or a workshop, means the person who has the ultimate control over the affairs of the establishment or workshop;
  7. “port authority” means any authority administering a port;
  8. “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under Sec.18;
  9. “week” means a period of seven days beginning at midnight on Saturday night or such other night as may be approved in writing for a particular area by the Inspector;
  10. “workshop” means any premises (including the precincts thereof) wherein any industrial process in carried on, but does not include any premises to which the provisions of Sec. 67 of the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948), for the time being, apply.

from those who have been left out and there must by a reasonable nexus with the object to be achieved by the legislation.

       The Court must strive to so interpret the statute as to protect and advance the object and purpose of enactment. Any narrow or technical interpretation of the provisions would defeat the legislative policy. The Court must, therefore, keep the legislative policy in mind in applying the provisions of the Act to the facts of the case.

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