New Delhi, 1st April, 2016
The National Human Rights Commission has taken it very seriously that six States have “adopted lackadaisical attitude” in the rehabilitation of 740 bonded child labourers rescued from various parts of Rajasthan during March, 2013 to July, 2014. These States include, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi. Notices have been issued for specific actions to the concerned authorities in all the six States with directions to submit action taken reports within eight weeks without fail.
The Commission found, during the course of enquiry, that 740 child labourers were rescued. They included maximum 610 from Bihar and the rest 130 from Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan. But Release Certificates were issued for only 456 children from Bihar. However, they were not given copies of the Release Certificates by the concerned authorities in Rajasthan.
Release Certificates for 284 rescued bonded child labourers were yet to be issued, which are essential to start their rehabilitation process in their respective States by the concerned District administration.
Mr. Justice D. Murugesan, Member, NHRC has observed that no heed seems to have been paid to the miseries of the children. The issue of the rescue of child labourers is not merely an instance of employing a child in violation of laws. It is rather more heinous in nature that children are being taken from one State to another, which cannot happen without the involvement of human/child traffickers.
He also observed that no report has been submitted by the State agencies of the six State Governments regarding the action taken plan to curb this menace of child trafficking, which requires to be handled with a coordinated approach to prevent such instances in future. Therefore, the allegation of the complainant that the human/child traffickers have not been dealt with in accordance with law, required to be investigated in an impartial and transparent manner.
Accordingly, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Government of Rajasthan to get the cases of these 740 rescued child bonded labourers investigated through CB-CID at headquarters. The report shall inter-alia contain the identification of children belonging to Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe, if any.
A notice has been issued to the Labour Commissioner, Government of Rajasthan, calling for an action taken report, indicating the reasons for non-issue of the Release Certificates. The report shall contain the measures taken for recovery of outstanding wages and rehabilitation amount from the concerned employers, including Rs.20 thousand for each rescued child and penal action taken against the offenders involved in child labour and child trafficking.
Further, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretaries, Directors General of Police/Commissioner of Police and Labour Commissioners of Governments of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi to submit comprehensive action taken report, indicating the rehabilitation of released child labourers and penal action taken against the offenders involved in the alleged child trafficking. They have also been asked to submit report about the steps taken to prevent occurrence of child trafficking/labour in future.