1st May, 2013, Delhi; On the occasion of ‘Labour Day’, the High Court of Delhi has taken exemplary action for implementation of child protection legislations and elimination of child labour in Delhi. While imposing cost of Rs. 10,000 on the Govt. of NCT Delhi, in a petition filed by Save the Childhood Foundation (Bachpan Bachao Andolan), the Hon’ble Court slammed the Delhi Government for its lack of action on the issue of child labour.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice asked the government why its orders were not being followed and no proper status reports are being filed. In July 2009, the High Court had directed the Govt. to take immediate steps for rescue of child labourers whenever cases are being reported while allowing the Govt. to keep the number of rescue of children to 500 due to logistical constraints. Also, detailed roles and responsibilities of all Govt. departments were also elaborated.
Ms. Prabhsahay Kaur, arguing on behalf of the petitioner said, “If Court’s Directions of 2009 were followed, in the last 3.5 years more than 18,000 child labourers should have been rescued. Majority of children working in the state are in conditions of bonded labour and are also victims of trafficking. Yet, the number of child labourers rescued is less than 3500 and no action has been taken on the complaints for more than 1000 child labourers pending since last year. Moreover, no proper reply or status report has been filed by the Govt. despite repeated directions of this Hon’ble Court.”
The High Court took very serious note of the situation and while coming down heavily on various Govt. departments including the Police and Labour Dept while also directing the Govt. to file a detailed status report.
Mr. R. S. Chaurasia, Chairperson, BBA said, “Delhi has become one of the most unsafe cities in the world for children. The worst part is that despite having the laws and policies in place and repeated directions of the High Court and Supreme Court, the Government authorities continue to violate the law by taking little or no action for protection of children. It is high time that the responsibilities of law enforcement agencies are also ascertained and we hope that this direction by the High Court is the first step in fixing accountability of authorities in protecting our children from trafficking, slavery and bonded labour.”