No prosecution under anti-bonded labour law?

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 16:14

New Delhi: No prosecution seems to have
taken place under anti-bonded labour law since it was enacted
over 34 years ago by the Delhi Government though such cases
keep surfacing in the national capital.

The Directorate of Prosecution of Delhi Government has
claimed before the Central Information Commission that it has
been reffered "no case for prosecuting anyone" under the
Bonded Labour (Abolition) System Act 1976.

The startling facts came to light during a hearing
before Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi on the plea of
an RTI applicant who wanted to know details of pending and
decided cases under section 16 of The Bonded Labour System
(Abolition) Act 1976 till date but was not provided any

Applicant Priyanka Sinha of an NGO Pratidhi had sought
the details from Directorate of Prosecution. But her
application was first transferred to Labour department which
then forwarded to a number of other departments.

When the matter reached the CIC, Gandhi noted in his
order that one of the officials from SDM (SV) has informed
that eight cases of bonded labour have come to light since
2008 while the Directorate of Prosecution stated that no case
has been referred to it for prosecuting anyone under the law.

"About 11 officers representing various offices have
come to the Commission but no one seems to have any clue
whether those accused of violating the Bonded Labour Act were
prosecuted or not," Gandhi said in his order.

He said either no prosecution is taking place or the
officials are not aware which is the prosecuting agency for
such crimes.

"This appears to be a very serious matter and appears
to indicate that though people are charged with having bonded
labour no prosecutions may be taking place. Alternately, it
means the prosecution is taking place by an agency which none
of the officers appears to be aware of," the Information
Commissioner pointed out.

He directed the Revenue Department "to check" if any
prosecutions have been conducted for violation of this Act and
provide the information to the applicant before June 10.


First Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 16:14

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