The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Ministry of Labour and Employment and others on a petition filed by a man seeking direction to the respondent authorities, to expeditiously recover the long-pending back wages of the child of the petitioner and 115 other victims of bonded labour in the national capital.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Ministry of Labour and Employment to file a reply and listed the matter for January 22 2021.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Kaum Faqeer Shah through advocate Kriti Awasthi.
According to petition Shah, father of a minor victim of bonded labour, sought a direction to the respondent authorities, to expeditiously recover the long-pending back wages of the child of the Petitioner and 115 other victims of Bonded Labour in the State of Delhi, wherein the proceedings for recovery of back wages have been initiated.
It has also sought a direction to the respondent authorities particularly the concerned Labour Department to initiate the recovery proceedings in cases where recovery, till date, has not been initiated.
According to the petitioner, he with his eight years old son, hailing from a socio-economically backward community from Bihar and facing poverty, came to Delhi in 2012 in search of livelihood options.
He was offered employment at the premises situated in Sadar Bazar in Delhi by the accused owner or employer.
However, during the course of his employment, the petitioner’s child was subjected to severe abuse for over a period of 1 and a half years at the hands of the trafficker and employer who inhumanely compelled the child to work for around 12 hours a day and for wages less than the prescribed minimum wages, the petition said.
“The rights of the Petitioner’s child as envisaged under Article 19, 21 and 23 of the Constitution of India were infringed. The Petitioner’s child was illegally forced to work as a Child Bonded Labourer without basic wages, and in the aberration of his liberties suffered the most dehumanizing treatment. Further, he was a victim of serious offences under the provisions of several statutes including but not limited to The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Indian Penal Code, 1860 and The Minimum Wages Act, 1948,” the plea said.
“The Petitioner is aggrieved by the failure of the Respondent Authorities in recovering the due back wages of the Petitioner’s child from the accused Employer, which would have served as rehabilitative financial assistance for the Petitioner’s child,” the plea said adding that the petitioner’s child and other similarly placed victims of bonded labour are entitled to such back wages in terms of various judgments passed by the Delhi High Court.