Employ Child Labour, face Sealing of establishment, Cancellation of license: Delhi High Court

Posted on | mei 29, 2012 | No Comments

21.jpgNew Delhi, 28th May, 2012 : The Hight Court of Delhi has issued elaborate directions today for the protection of child labourers and their rehabilitation and education through stringent action against employers.

The order was given in an application filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Vs. Union of India), wherein the Court directed that it is imperative to recover the fine of Rs. 20,000 from the employers of child labourers for the rehabilitation of child labourers as well as the minimum wages earned by the child during the course of employment. The directions stipulate that regardless of the number of child labourers found in any establishment, such establishments may be sealed and/ or its license suspended/canceled, till such time that the fine and other dues are recovered from the employer.

Citing earlier judgements and directions of the Supreme Court of India and of High Court of Delhi, the Labour Department expressed today that as a large number of child labourers are victims of child trafficking (being trafficked from other states), it is important that the child labourers are sent back within a stipulated time frame along with the fine, which has to be recovered from the employers (as severe difficulties are being faced by the department as of now). The Court directed that all rescued child labourers who are victims of trafficking from other states must be repatriated to thier parents/ guardians by Child Welfare Committees within 30 days, and if the same is not possible then action must be taken to send them back through the Resident Commissioners within 15 days thereafter.

Currently, hundreds of children are in various shelter homes in the capital awaiting their return to their families, who would greatly benefit from this order.

It is notable that the issue of child labour is much worse than what appears at the surface level and there is a dire need to take immediate focused steps to eradicate this social evil. Children who are working in factories, mines, hotels and various other organized and unorganized establishments are highly under paid and over-worked. They are denied of their basic necessities like education, health and basic freedom. Even after being grossly under-nourished, they still work for long hours without payment of wages.

Mr. H.S. Phoolka, Senior Advocate, appearing on behalf of BBA submitted that the model of the Delhi and the various judgments of the High Court of Delhi are now being followed across the country, ie in other states as well. Comprehensive legal action under provisions of Indian Penal Code, Juvenile Justice Act and Bonded Labour Act will only be deterrent against child labour and traficking, eventually leading to a child labour free India.

Additional Labour Commissioner, Piyush Sharma said, “This judgment of the High Court will be like a shot in the arm in our efforts to eliminate/wipe out the menace of child labour completely as we will be able to hit the economics of child labour alongwith the legal deterrent.”

The income/money generated by employing child labourers goes unaccounted in the country’s economy. The displacement of an adult worker by a child who works for for a peanut of money and toils much more hours than he should without objection leads to adult unemployment. According to a report released by Bachpan Bachao Andolan in 2011, child labour generates as much as Rs. 12,00,00,00,00,000 (Rs12 lakh crore) of black money every year in the country. Ironically, this money does not counts the amount saved by the government by not contributing to the development and creation of social infrastructure for the welfare of these children.

Mr. R.S. Chaurasia, Chairperson BBA said, “we have been demanding a strong policy for the elimination of the child labour and the judicial activism for protection of children has resulted in very strong actions for elimination of child labour. In BBA’s recently concluded CHILD LABOUR FREE INDIA Campaign, the Union Govt. has recently announced a new law for total abolition of child labour. But, it is only through such directions that will result in social stigmatization of such individuals who still don’t consider employing children as crime. The fines imposed will make the practice of hiring kids not economically viable, hence directly attacking the vicious cycle of child labourers.”

AUTHOR: Garima Dimri
URL: http://www.bba.org.in
E-MAIL: garima [at] bba.org.in


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