By Ambily Joshy
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
1984 AIR 802, 1984 SCR (2) 67
BANDHUA MUKTI MORCHA
UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS
DATE OF JUDGMENT
16 DECEMBER 1983
N. BHAGWATI, S. PATHAK, AMARENDRA NATH SEN
In this case of public interest litigation, the supreme court of India ordered the state of Uttar Pradesh to abolish the use of children as labor in the carpet industry and issue welfare guidelines barring child labor under the age of 14 and upholding the rights of children to education, health and development, ensuring India’s advancement as a democracy.
The kid of today of today will not excel in becoming a responsible and active member of tomorrows community, otherwise he is promised an atmosphere conducive for his social and physical wellbeing. Any nation that can be formed or created has connected its future to the status of an infant. Childhood retains its capacity and therefore influences the possible successes or development of society. Children’s are considered to be the most important contributions to mankind. For their offspring, the parents themselves live. They bring the love of life in them and escape the exhaustion and drudgery in their everyday lime battle in their innocence. In the company of youngsters, parents discover harmony and pleasure. In humans, children embody everlasting resilience and still bring out the capacity for human growth. The world would be please for them if the children have better produced a broader human production. To stop or not to take the children into account means failure to the entire of humanity. The world would have lost future human resources for socioeconomic growth, economic empowerment and law and order, social stability and good governance if the kid had lost their childhood economically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. The founding father of the constitution therefore stressed the importance of the child’s position and the need for its best growth. Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who in his wisdom, was well ahead of his time, explains these rights in the values of the directive, including children’s as beneficiaries. The inability to do so has a detrimental impact on the benefit of government and the rule of law.
STATUTES INVOLVED IN THE CASE
- Bonded labor system act 1976
- Mines rules 1955
- Mines vocational training rules 1966
- Maternity benefit act 1961
- Article 32 of the Indian constitution
Bandhua Mukti morcha is an NGO working for the benefit of workers. While undertaking a survey, the petitioner discovered that in some stone quarries in Faridabad near the city of Delhi, the industry mostly employed minor children under 14 years of age and extreme worker circumstances, as the employees were forced to come to work from various states of the country and their health grew poorer and poorer day by day due to the extreme polluted working conditions. On the basis of that survey, on 25 February 1982, the petitioner wrote a letter to the truthful justice, Bhagwati, stating:
- The mines are the property of Shri S.L.Sharma, Haryana, in the Faridabad district.
- There were vast numbers of employees who had served in cruel and unsustainable conditions from various states of the world.
- Much of them were bonded workers, and the rules relating to the health of workers are not observed.
- The petitioner also specified the particulars of employees and prayed that a writ be given for the proper execution of numerous social welfare laws such as the mining act 1952, the interstate migrant workers act 1979, the bonded labor system (abolition) act 1976, the minimum wages act, the workers compensation act, the payment act 1970, the bonded labor system (abolition) act 1976, the minimum wages act.
The court viewed the letter as a writ petition and appointed a commission to carry out an investigation into the petitioners claims.
- Whether or not the submitted writ petition submitted under article 32 of the constitution is inherently valid?
- Whether or not the fundamental rights of the workers of stone quarries have really been violated?
- Whether the Supreme Court is empowered to name any tribunal or investigation agency based on article 32 of the constitution or not?
- Whether or not the workmen mentioned in this case are bonded labor?
- Whether or not workers are protected for separate social security and labor laws in the present case?
Contention of Petitioner
- In the alleged stone quarries, the entire environment was filled with residue and it was difficult for anyone to inhale.
- A portion of the employees were not allowed to leave the stone quarries and minimal work was provided.
- There was no facility to give untainted drinking water and employees were made to drink messy water from a nullah;
- A portion of the workforce suffered from constant illnesses; no pay was given to employees who were injured due to injuries that happened during the course of work.
- And there were no medicinal therapy or tutoring services.
CONTENTION OF RESPONDENT
- Article 32 of the constitution is not related to the present situation, since there is no violation of the central right of the petitioner or the employees proposed in the appeal.
- Only a letter sent to this court by a conference will not be treated as a writ appeal.
- In litigation pursuant to article 32, the court shall not be allowed to name any tribunal or exploratory committee to investigate the arguments made in the writ appeal;
- Reports provided by such commissions take note of ex parte findings that have not been tried by questioning and thus have no proof value.
- In the state of Haryana, there could be restricted workers in the stone quarries and stone smashers, but they were not fortified workers within the meaning of their capacity used in the bonded labor system (Abolition) Act, 1976
In its judgment, the court takes the view that safeguarding the rights of children to education, health and development is essential in guaranteeing the growth of India as a democracy. Although noting that because of economic requirements, child labor could not be eliminated promptly, the court found that fair measures could be taken to protect and preserve the rights of children in the vulnerable and unguarded communities of Indian society. In favor of its conclusion, the court goes over a number of human rights and directive principles of the Indian constitution, including article 21 (right to life and personal liberty), article 24 ( which forbids the employment of children under 14 years of age in factories, mines or other dangerous industries ), article 39(e) ( which prohibits people from having vocation which are unfit for their employment), article 39(f) ( describes the obligation of the state to shield children from abuse and to provide children with safe growth opportunities and facilities ) and article 45 (directs the state to provide free compulsory schooling to all children under the age of 14). The court also acknowledged the duty of India under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the convention on the rights of the child to provide all children in the world with free primary education and to shield children from economic abuse. In an earlier scenario, the measures that allowed for the elimination of child labor, M.C. Mehta v. Tamil Nadu stateand ors [(1996) 6 SCC 756] was reviewed and inserted into the orders of the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by the court. The directives include directing the states to take action to devise policies to phase out the employment of children under 14 years of age; to provide compulsory schooling to all children working in factories , mines and other industries; to ensure that children obtain food rich in nutrients; and to perform periodic health tests. Some other directions were also issued by the supreme court to the Haryana government, the central government and other administrative authorities that are:
- In order to ensure compliance with section 13 of the Bonded Labor Act, the government of Haryana shall create a vigilance committee in each district division within 6 weeks of the judgment.
- The Haryana government shall nominate a district magistrate to classify the bonded labor according to the law.
- The state government will assist NGO and other charitable organization to ensure the proper enforcement of the bonded labor act 1976, whenever any needy situation occurs.
- The Haryana government has to re- habit the bonded laborers within 3 months of the verdict.
- The central and state governments were jointly responsible for ensuring the correct enforcement of the 1948 minimum wages act.
- The central government offices involved had to perform unexpected visits at least once a week.
- The central workers education board also requires camps to be held to teach workers about their rights and freedoms given by statute.
A three- judge bench of the Supreme Court provided for this decision. The working conditions of bonded employees were uplifted by this decision which guaranteed that even the fundamental rights of the workers were not abused. In conclusion, we might conclude that the final decision was satisfactory and sufficient to make workers working condition safer.
Owing to poverty, numerous tangible and intangible sufferings and disorders impact children and youth, in particular health, academic and social degradation and inequality. The convention on the rights of the child, ratified by the government of India on 20- 11- 1989, acknowledges the rights of the child to grow his or her personality fully and better. In an environment of happiness, caring and compassion, children deserve to grow up in a family environment. In culture, the infant must be completely capable of leading an independent life. Article 3 states that any act relating to children, whether carried out by public or private social service organizations, courts of justice, administrative authorities or statutory bodies, must be solely concerned with the best interest of the child. Article 27(1) specifies that the state parties accept the right of every child to a standard of living sufficient for the child’s physical, emotional, spiritual, moral and social growth.
This law suit, along with other cases of public interest lawsuits on the subject of child labor, and a series of efforts to abolish child labor, have been active in raising awareness of the issue of child labor and putting the topic squarely on the agenda of the government. Law and policy are shifting in the direction of the systematic abolition of child labor, and numerous steps are being taken to abolish child labor, especially in the field of education. One of the implications has been that it has minimized the use of child labor in the carpet industry. Many children have however, continued to be abused in the Indian labor market and there is a critical need for better and more efficient or effective defense of children’s rights. The full prevention of child labor and the promotion of education would contribute to the country’s vast growth.This is because a nation’s future lies in the hands of young people in that country. And the basic ingredient for that is thought to be producing the most competent youth education party. When we talk more about the rights of children’s, without thinking about ‘Kailash Satyarthi’, the Noble Peace Prize laureate, we can’t miss our words. He is a social reformer from India who is campaigning in India against child labor. The Beti Bachao Andolan, Global March Against Child Labor, Global Education Initiative, are all organizations that help children fly towards the direction of education and better living. Instead of being burdened with the burdens of raising their families, children should be able to live and enjoy their childhood and even though they are required to do so due to conditions, they should also be given the basic necessities of life and childhood such as school, food, housing, clothes and the best of all time to live their childhood. The foundation of the country should be strong to create a strong society, because children are the pillars of a nation, and if they are weak, then the nation becomes weak as well.
- Bandhua Mukti morcha v. union of India and others AIR 1984 SCC 802
- ESCR NET international network for economic, social and cultural rights
- Lawtimes journal.in
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