India: Child Actors And Child Labour Laws

India ratified two more ILO Conventions in June 2017 after the Central Government had introduced amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 ("Act") in August 2016. The government has also introduced the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017 ("Rules") ahead of ratifying the 2 of ILOs conventions in June 2017.

It is significant to note that the Rules make special provisions for the inclusion of child actors in any type of audio-visual entertainment, be it films, short films, T.V Serials, Reality Shows, etc. This area of the glitterati needed to be regulated since a long time. In 2010-11 the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) released detailed guidelines discussing the problems and challenges faced by child actors in reality shows, T.V. Serials etc. It stated that "Participating in an adult-oriented industry, children are often exposed to unsuitable, anxiety inducing, and at times, dangerous operational hazards and situations. Many of these problems may be inherent and generic to the industry, but children, unlike their adult counterparts, should not be expected to handle the emotional and physical stress. It needs to be remembered that, by and large, children do not join the industry of their own volition. There is always an adult involved – a parent, or caretaker – who takes the decision for them. In the absence of any monitoring mechanism, there is every likelihood of child actors being exploited when it comes to the number of hours worked per day, and short-changed in terms of educational and safety provisions." Guidelines for defining age-related norms for the participation of children in tv/reality shows; ensuring the physical conditions and safety of children; setting up of regulatory and monitoring mechanisms; and ensuring education of child participants were recommended by NCPCR.

There have been many instances in the film industry, where directors, producers and some actors are becoming more and more aware about the 'glittered but exploited lives' of child actors. Sensitizing people about the need to prohibit child actors in reality ("scripted reality") shows, director Sujit Sircar, recently tweeted that there is an urgent need to ban child actors from reality shows. He said that "it's actually destroying them emotionally & their purity."

We bring to our readers, the important compliances to be adhered to by producers before employing child artists in audio-visual entertainment programs, from the amended Act of 2016 and the Rules:

1. Prohibition of employment of children in any occupation and process: According to Section 3 of the amended Act, Children, i.e., persons under the age of 14 years, will now be prohibited from working in any occupations. However, to align it with the social situation in the nation, where children also contribute significantly to the family income by being a part of family businesses, the section exempts those helping their family or family enterprise, other than any hazardous occupations or processes set forth in the Schedule, after his school hours or during vacation, from the purview of the Act.

2. Conditions for children working for media entertainment: Section 3  also exempts children working as artists in an audio-visual entertainment industry, including advertisement, films, television serials or any such other entertainment or sports activities except the circus from the purview of the prohibition if the prescribed safety measures, have been complied with.

According to the Rules certain conditions are to be complied with by the Producer. The producer shall:

  1. obtain permission from the District Magistrate and shall furnish an undertaking in Form C of the Rules to the District Magistrate before beginning any activities in the district;
  2. provide the list of child participants, consent of parents or guardian, name of the individual from the production or event who shall be responsible for the safety and security of the child;
  3. ensure that all screening of his films and television programs shall be made with a disclaimer specifying that if any child has been engaged in the shooting, then, all the measures were taken to ensure that there has been no abuse, neglect or exploitation of such child during the entire process of the shooting;
  4. arrange appropriate facilities for education of the child to ensure that there is no discontinuity from his lessons in school;
  5. not allow children to work consecutively for more than twenty-seven days; and
  6. appoint one responsible person for maximum of five children for the production or event, so as to ensure the protection, care and best interest of the child

In the west, the famous case of Jackie Coogan paved way for California's Child Actor laws which later came to be known as Coogan Laws. Jackie's parents had spent all his earnings as a famous child actor. Even Gary Coleman, on becoming an adult realized that all his child-actor-earnings were misappropriated by his agent and parents. There needs to be a well-regulated check upon the use of the child's earnings as an artist.

Now, according to the new Rules, at least 21% of the income earned by the child from the production or event should be directly deposited in a fixed deposit account in a nationalized bank in the name of the child which may be credited to the child on attaining majority; and no child shall be made to participate in any audio visual and sports activity including informal entertainment activity against his will and consent.


It is no secret that reality shows and T.V. serials in which children are made to participate expose them not only to work pressure but also to enormous publicity which the children are not mentally or emotionally equipped to handle. It not only deprives them of a normal childhood but burdens them to work and finish schooling at the same time. Psychologists have reiterated numerous times that both exposure to limelight and then eventual deprivation of such attention can have a serious impact on young and tender minds. It is promising to note that the industry is being aware and sensitive to the issue of child artists being exploited. What remains to be seen is how far and seriously the provisions under these rules are executed and how seriously punishments on defaulters are implemented.

Another important critique that we note is that the prohibition of employing children as enumerated under Section 3 of the Act, are relaxed for child artists, however, children employed in the circus are not subject to this relaxation. We ponder: how are the current reality shows where 5-year-old toddlers share marital jokes (the meaning of which we doubt they understand) different from circuses...

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.