New Delhi: A sub-divisional magistrate was
on Monday castigated by the Delhi High Court for conducting raids
to rescue child labourers from some factories in Delhi without
ensuring sufficient police protection, resulting in a botched
"The SDM was supposed to be a responsible officer but he
did not communicate the plan to the police before conducting
the raid to rescue children from different units which has
resulted into this disaster," said a division bench of Chief
Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.
"He must have brain and acumen to do so...." the bench
said, ticking off the SDM.
As a team of civil society activists accompanied by the
SDM and four police constables were rescuing illegally-
employed children from various Zari units at Jheel Khureji
near Geeta Colony in East Delhi, a mob of local goons attacked
them amid the rescue operation.
The court rebuked the SDM as city Police Commissioner B
K Gupta, appearing before it in response to its urgent summon
last Friday, said the SDM had neither informed the area DCP
about the plan to rescue children nor did he seek more police
force at the time of rescue operation.
Geeta Colony SDM VP Singh told the court that he had
gone in his official car and the volunteers along with four
policemen had gone to the spot in two private vehicles.
After rescuing 22 children, they were brought to the
labour office, but a huge crowd earlier surrounded the
vehicles and attacked the volunteers, he added.
"The mafias had come with a purpose to take away the
children and created furor among the rescuers. They were able
to succeed in their purpose," the bench remarked following
On March 17, some volunteers from civil society
Bachpan Bachao Andolan along with the SDM had raided different
establishments and rescued 22 children but they failed to
rescue many more of them due to the attack by local goons.
On an oral complaint, lodged a day later by senior
advocate HS Phoolka on behalf of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan,
apprising the court of the attack on activists, the court had
summoned around half a dozen senior civil and police
officials, including the city police commissioner and labour
secretary to explain the incident.
The others, who had been summoned included additional
commissioner of police, joint labour secretary, divisional
commissioner, East Delhi`s deputy commissioner of police and
Geeta Colony`s assistant commissioner of police.