India is home to the largest child population in the world. The Constitution of India guarantees Fundamental Rights to all children in the country and empowers the State to make special provisions for children. The Directive Principles of State Policy specifically guide the State in securing the tender age of children from abuse and ensuring that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner in conditions of freedom and dignity. The State is responsible for ensuring that childhood is protected from exploitation and moral and material abandonment. Declaring its children as the nation’s “supremely important asset” in the National Policy for Children, 1974, the Government of India reiterated its commitment to secure the rights of its children by ratifying related international conventions and treaties. These include the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its Covenants, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Women and Children, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Inter-Country Adoption, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The National Policy for Children, 1974 recognised that programmes for children should find prominent place in national plans for the development of human resources, so that children grow up to become robust citizens, physically fit, mentally alert and morally healthy, endowed with the skills and motivations provided by society. The Policy also laid emphasis on equal opportunities for the development of all children during the period of growth. The National Charter for Children, 2003 adopted on 9th February 2004, underlined the intent to secure for every child its inherent right to be a child and enjoy a healthy and happy childhood, to address the root causes that negate the healthy growth and development of children, and to awaken the conscience of the community in the wider societal context to protect children from all forms of abuse, while strengthening the family, society and the Nation. To affirm the Government’s commitment to the rights based approach in addressing the continuing and emerging challenges in the situation of children, the Government of India hereby adopts this Resolution on the National Policy for Children, 2013.
Reference : wcd.nic.in
(i) every child has universal, inalienable and indivisible human rights
(ii) the rights of children are interrelated and interdependent, and each one of them is equally important and fundamental to the well-being and dignity of the child
(iii) every child has the right to life, survival, development, education, protection and participation
(iv) right to life, survival and development goes beyond the physical existence of the child and also encompasses the right to identity and nationality
(v) mental, emotional, cognitive, social and cultural development of the child is to be addressed in totality
(vi) all children have equal rights and no child shall be discriminated against on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, class, language, and disability, social, economic or any other status
(vii) the best interest of the child is a primary concern in all decisions and actions affecting the child, whether taken by legislative bodies, courts of law, administrative authorities, public, private, social, religious or cultural institutions
(viii) family or family environment is most conducive for the all-round development of children and they are not to be separated from their parents, except where such separation is necessary in their best interest
(ix) every child has the right to a dignified life, free from exploitation
(x) safety and security of all children is integral to their well-being and children are to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect, violence, maltreatment and exploitation in all settings including care institutions, schools, hospitals, crèches, families and communities
(xi) children are capable of forming views and must be provided a conducive environment and the opportunity to express their views in any way they are able to communicate, in matters affecting them.
(xii) children’s views, especially those of girls, children from disadvantaged groups and marginalised communities, are to be heard in all matters affecting them, in particular judicial and administrative proceedings and interactions, and their views given due consideration in accordance with their age, maturity and evolving capacities.