Election Commission has issued a directive to chief secretaries and electoral officers, ordering them to exclude children from election-related work
The Election Commission (EC) has instructed all state chief secretaries and chief electoral officers to refrain from engaging children below 18 years of age in poll operations. This is applicable to political parties and leaders, who are liable to face legal action if they do not follow it.
No child labour: According to Childline NGO, minors used during campaigns are physically and mentally affected. Representation pic
Director of Childline India Foundation, Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, said, "We had written a letter to the EC two weeks ago asking them to issue directives to all political parties and election officials to refrain from engaging minor children in campaigning."
"We had written in our letter that children participating in campaigns are adversely affected — physically and mentally. They don't attend classes and are ill-influenced because of the large amount of money involved," she said.
"The EC has responded to our request and has cited a Government Resolution (GR) signed by Under-Secretary A K Bhatnagar. Bhatnagar has instructed all state chief secretary and chief electoral officers to refrain from using children in the election process.
The EC has clearly stated that it will take a strong action if such practice is followed and violation of child rights is unacceptable. The officers will be personally responsible and will face enquiry if any such violations are found," said Sahasrabuddhe.
"If citizens come across any such incidences where parties are seen using minors, they can contact us on the 1098 helpline," she appealed.