Child labour: HC summons senior cop, government official

TNN | Jan 25, 2013, 04.46AM IST

NEW DELHI: Annoyed with the failure of authorities to curb child labour and bring in a law to regulate placement agencies in the city, the Delhi high court on Thursday summoned joint commissioner of police and the labour commissioner of the Delhi government.

A division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain expressed displeasure at the authorities for not filing the status report and continuous failure to implement its order on elimination of child labour. The court pointed out that it has been nearly two years since it directed the government to amend the law to ensure placement agencies are regulated but the government is yet to bring in a new Act.

HC directed that the joint commissioner of police concerned with child labour and commissioner of labour department should be present along with the status report on March 6, the next date of hearing.

An NGO, Save the Child Foundation, had filed a plea through senior advocate H S Phoolka alleging "lackadaisical approach" of the authorities while implement the high court order to eliminate child labour or to regulate placement agencies.

While one petition highlighted failure of the government to prevent child labour another blamed it for not registering all placement agencies operating in the capital to prevent alleged trafficking of women and minors.

Pointing to the case of juvenile accused in the Nirbhaya case, Phoolka argued that the juvenile was also a child labour and had the government implemented HC directions the tragedy could have been averted. He further added that the juvenile allegedly involved in the case has been a victim of child labour for the past 11 years and failure to comply with the directions have resulted in child labourers growing up as anti-social elements. The court had earlier questioned why its directions regarding implementing the action plan of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and other government departments were not carried out.

The PIL alleged that the government agencies do not have any plausible reason for not implementing the July 15, 2007 directions of the high court by which 500 child labourers should be rescued every month keeping in mind the capacity of children homes. In its judgment, HC had accepted an action plan for elimination of child labour in the capital by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and other government departments and had issued directions in the case.

Had the Delhi government complied with the order, over 18,000 victims would have been saved till now. However, only 3,500 children have been rescued in Delhi since July 15, 2007, the plea claimed. The petition sought court's direction to the government and police for rescuing and rehabilitating child labourers. The court had also directed the government to file a status report on the actions taken by it to check child labour.