Supreme Court of India, Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India & Others,  5 SCC 1
Reference to international law to strengthen a decision based on domestic law
Child trafficking and other human rights violations of children forced to work in circuses/ Reference to international law to strengthen a decision based on domestic law
Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an Indian-based movement, filed a public interest petition under article 32 of the Constitution concerning the situation of children trafficked from poor parts of Nepal and India and forced to work in circuses where they are frequently sexually, physically and emotionally abused and subjected to inhuman conditions.
Following the petitioner’s request and taking into account the suggestions of the Solicitor General, the Court referred to international treaties and conventions relating to human rights and child rights, including – among others – the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000), on which the Solicitor General had relied for the definition of trafficking, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which, said the Court, “inter alia prescribes standards to be adhered by all state parties in securing the best interest of the child.”2
Based on the Constitution and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and strengthening its decision by reference to the aforementioned international instruments, the Court ordered, among other things, that the employment of children in circuses be prohibited; that raids be conducted on all circuses to free the children and monitor the violations of their rights, and that the rescued children be kept in Care and Protective Homes until they are 18 years of age; that the State assess whether the parents of these children are willing to take them back to their homes, which they will only be able to do following the appropriate assessment; and that the State design a proper scheme of rehabilitation for children rescued from circuses.