“show a child love & care,child labor is just not fair”
This post has been written by Supriya Bhatpahari , a student of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.
India is a progressive country and has shown great progress not only economically or technologically but also socially. We have done away with many social evils and narrow-minded superstitious customs. We have opened ourselves to broad ideas have influenced our lifestyle hugely. However, there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor of our country which has been ever-widening. Dealing with one aspect of such gap brings our attention to two major prevailing social evils i.e. child labour and human trafficking. These evils may not be the much talked about news in the town and would be perfectly camouflaged by other prevalent situations like poverty, unemployment etc, and we cannot deny that western culture has influenced us hugely.
In this article I m going to discuss how these two prevalent social evils have been dealt with by law with special reference to Fundamental Rights.
Article 23 & Article 24 Deal With Right Against Exploitation.
Article 23- Prohibition of traffic in human beings.
Article 23(1) – Human trafficking and begar and similar forms of force labour are prohibited.
Article 23(2) – Nothing shall prevent the state from imposing service that, state shall not make any discrimination on ground of religion, caste, sex, race etc.
- The term begar means work without remuneration.
- Labour without salary is known as begar.
- Article 23 prohibits under similar form of forced labour like ‘bonded labour’.
- Forced labour means compelling a person to work against his will.
- Article 23 prohibits any form of exploitation.
- Trafficking involves buying and selling of men and women for illegal activities like (prostitution).
- Forcing a child to do immoral works.
- Protect both citizen and non citizen against exploitation.
An Exception to Article 23
Under clause (2) of article 23, the state is allowed to impose compulsory services for public purpose like national defense, removal of illiteracy and public utility services ( water, air, and rail service, etc.)
To prevent these types of acts the parliament has made the immoral traffic (prevention) act 1956
Important cases applicable to article 23 of Indian constitution are discussed as follows-
People Union for Democratic Rights vs. Union of India
- In this case it was held that article 23 stated about traffic in human beings & begar. Not merely begar but also a form of forced labour is violation of human dignity & contrary to basic human values.
In this Justice Bhagwati said:
If a person has contracted with another to perform service and there is consideration for such service even remuneration is going to be paid for it, he cannot be forced by compulsion of law as would be forced labour within article 23.
If the person who provides the labour or service to another for remuneration received for it is less than minimum wage, it is forced labour
Sanjit Roy vs. State of Rajasthan
- Payment of wages lower than the minimum wages to the person employed on famine relief work is violation of article 23.
The state cannot take a ground of Famine, drought, scarcity situation. State cannot pay him less than the minimum wages.
Article: 24 – Prohibition of employment of children in factories and other dangerous work.
Article 24 says that no child under the age of fourteen years shall be employed as a worker in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
Hence, it states prohibition against the employment of children under the age of fourteen.
But the employment of children in non-hazardous work is allowed.
The child labour (prohibition & regulation) act 1986 is the most important provision in this regard.
In addition, the employment of children act 1938, the factories act 1948, the mines act 1952, the bidi & cigar workers act 1966, and other similar acts prohibit the employment of children below the age of fourteen.
The commission for protection of child rights act 2005 was passed to provide for establishment of national commission & state commission for protection of child rights. This is for Children’s courts for providing trial of offences against violation of child rights.
In 2006 the government banned the employment of child servants or workers in business establishment like hotels, restaurants etc.
Important case applicable to article 24 of Indian constitution is discussed below.
MC. Mehta vs. State of Tamilnadu (1991):
- Child labour is a practice of employing children in hazardous activities.
In this case Supreme Court discussed various provisions prohibiting employment
Of children in India and child labour is a major problem in our country.
Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka –
- Mohini Jain is a resident of Meerut in the State of uttar Pradesh, fasten for admission to the MBBS course in the session initiating February/March, 1991, to a private medicinal school situated in the State of Karnataka. The school administration ask her to store a whole from Rs. 60,000/ – as the educational cost charge for the main year and furthermore to demonstrate a bank certification of the sum equivalent to the expense for the rest of the years. At the point when Miss Jain’s dad suggested the administration that the asked sum was past his achieve, the administration denied Ms. Jain’s admission to the medicinal school. Miss Jain educated the court that the administration requested an extra measure of Rs. four and a half lakhs, be that as it may, the administration denied the claim. According to the notice, the disavowal of affirmation of Miss Jain because of her inability to present the yearly educational cost expense of Rs. 60,000/ – was a substantial stride taken by the school administration. In this circumstance, Miss Jain documented a request (Writ appeal (Civil) No. 456 of 1991) under Article 32 (1) (“The privilege to move the Supreme Court by suitable procedures for the implementation of the rights presented by this (Part III: Fundamental Rights) is guaranteed”) of the Constitution of India testing the notice issued by the Government of Karnataka.
People’s Union for Demo. RTS vs. Union of India
- Public interest litigation which is strategic arm of the legal aid movement and which is intended to bring justice within the reach of the poor masses, who constitute the low visibility area of humanity ,is a totally different kind of litigation from the ordinary traditional litigation which is essentially of an adversary character where there is a dispute between two litigating parties, one making claim or seeking relief against the other and that other opposing such claim or resisting such relief.
Neeraja Chaudhary vs. State of Madhyapradesh
- Constitution bonded labour Articles 21, 23 and 32 of Constitution of India and Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 petition filed against non- implementation of legislative provisions made for rehabilitation of bonded laborers after they had been freed State Government cannot be permitted to repudiate its obligation to identify, release and rehabilitate bonded laborers’ on ground that it does not owe any obligation to them unless and until they show in appropriate legal proceeding conducted according to rules of adversary system of justice that they are bonded laborers’ Articles 21 and 23 required that bonded laborers’ must be identified and released and rehabilitated Act of 1976 enacted pursuant to Directive Principal.
In India, there are many provisions which ban child labour completely or puts certain restriction on child labour to protect them from being exploited and manhandled. There are also many provisions which criminologists human trafficking. However, we cannot say that India is completely free from such social evils. We can still find instances of child labour and human trafficking in our country today. There are many cases where the family of the victim compels her/him take up such jobs just to ensure that the rest of the family gets food to eat. Therefore, we get to the conclusion that all these social evils still exist because of poverty and unemployment which leads to starvation. Many a times the victims are lured by high incentives when in reality they do not even half of what they have been promised and instead of it they get maltreated and abused. There must be a stricter check put on such cases and strict legal actions must be taken against people who indulge in conducting such business. Not only the victims’ safety but also their families’ welfare must be ensured and the government should provide for their employment and a proper standard of living. There must be some provision for the free education of the victims of child labour and food for their families so that they would not be compelled to indulge in child labour. These measures would ascertain the Establishment of child labour and human trafficking, and provide a brighter future for the weaker section of our country.