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Case Brief of Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs. UOI, 1997

Facts:

The claimant Bandhua Mukti Morcha is a non-governmental organization that aims to protect the public and is involved in welfare works for them. While doing a survey, in Faridabad where the workers were in difficult circumstances, they uncovered some stone quarries.

There were very unhealthy and inadequate working conditions for these labourers from diverse sections of the nation. The petitioner claimed that there were people from Haryana who were forced to work under these extreme conditions in some remote part of Faridabad.

The petitioner submitted to Justice P.N. Bhagwati a letter concerning the workers’ working places and conditions of working and labor there. In the letter, the candidate also referred to the name of the quarries in stone and areas of interest of workers who functioned as reinforced laborers and asked for a writ for the proper use of the various provisions of the Social Welfare Act such as Minimum Wages Act, Employees State Protection Act, etc. 

The litigation case of public interest (PIL) was proposed to the Supreme Court by way under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, it requested that the Uttar Pradesh government must initiate action to eradicate child labor.

A panel was constituted by the Court afterwards reported on the magnitude of child exploitation in the UP weaving sector, found numerous children abducted from Bihar, and this industrial sector predominantly employed young children under 14 years of age, as well as they, faced physical violence.

Issues:

  • To check the validity of the petition filed by the petitioner under Article 32 of 
  • Whether basic rights were infringed or not?
  • Whether, following Article 32 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the power to appoint any committee or investigating body?
  • Whether workers, in this case, have the right to reprieve under various social workplace laws or not?
  • Can a letter like the one presented in this case by the claimant in Court be treated as a written appeal?
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Court Observation:

The Court emphasized the significance of ensuring growth as a democracy in the country of India by safeguarding children’s basic rights. While acknowledging the lack of quick abolition of child labor based on economic need, the Court held that realistic efforts may be implemented to safeguard and promote children’s rights in Indian society’s poor and vulnerable populations. 

Supreme Court mentioned several fundamental rights and Directive Principles of the country’s constitution including Article 21 (right to living and personal freedom), Article 24 (prohibiting employment for children under 14 in factories, mines, etc.) and Article 39(e). 

The Court pointed out nation’s commitments to free basic education for all children in the nation in the context of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as to safeguard children from financial abuse.

The court also mentioned the M.C. Mehta c. Tamil Nadu and has posed requests in Uttar Pradesh and the Bihar States. The requests included guiding States to develop plans to eradicate child labor (under 14 years of age); giving mandatory instruction to all young people used in processing plants, mining, and various enterprises; making sure that the children receive supplementary rich nutritional supplies; and regulated occasional health records.

Held:

The petition was tested empirically by the Supreme Court and hence the Government of Haryana, the Central Government, and other administrative agencies received the following instructions:

  • Within six weeks following the judgment, the Haryana Government shall establish a monitoring panel in each part of the district to make sure they comply with Section 13 of the Bonded Labour Act, 1976.
  • The Haryana Government will select a district magistrate who would be responsible for identifying bonded labor following the legislation.
  • To ensure the execution of the Bonded Labor Act, 1976, the state government must enlist the assistance of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other voluntary organizations.
  • The Haryana government is required to rehabilitate the bonded laborers within three months of receiving the judgment.
  • The execution of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, must be overseen by both the federal and state governments working together.
  • Surprise visits from the Central government must be made to the concerned offices at least once a week, according to the law.
  • The Central Board of Workers Education will organize camps regularly to educate the workforce on their legal rights and benefits.
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Among previous PIL’s filed over to abolish child labor, this case has successfully brought the child labor issues to light and put those matters prominently on the administration’s working plan.

Policing and law are working toward explicitly abolishing child labor, and several actions are being undertaken, particularly in the field of education, to eradicate horrible child labor.

One result has been a reduction in the use of child labor in the carpet sector, which has observed a positive development. Regardless, a significant number of children continue to be mistreated in India, highlighting the urgent need for more comprehensive and increasingly persuasive protections for children’s rights.

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  1. Pingback:ARTICLE 23 & 24: RIGHT AGAINST EXPLOITATION » The Legal Lock

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