SC snubs govt, media on child labour and prostitution

Last Updated: Monday, February 8, 2010 - 20:27

New Delhi: Even as the Centre suggested
banning use of children in TV reality shows, the Supreme Court
on Monday criticised the authorities for failing to enforce the
existing laws to prevent exploitation of children for
prostitution and labour.

The apex court also minced no words in expressing
displeasure at the conduct of the media which it said was more
focussed on the GDP growth, big business houses and Ambanis`
instead of focussing on issues relating to exploitation of
children.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik,
while dealing with a PIL on exploitation of children for
labour and commercial sex, said even though there are enough
laws to combat such offences, the necessary will was awfully
lacking in the government.

"Our system is in such a way that it is only the most
powerful who are able to have their way. It is only the
powerful who are in a position to influence. "Unless people at the top act, nothing will happen. What is the point in passing directions when they are not implemented? We have passed so many directions in Narmada
Bachao Andolan case," the bench said.

The apex court made the remarks after Solicitor
General Gopal Subramaniam came out with a suggestion that the
apex court should pass directions to ensure children are not
exploited for labour, including their use for TV reality
shows.

"People in the media are also more concerned with
the GDP growth. Do they promote the cause of children`s
rights or the other weaker section? The media is more focussed
on the GDP, big business houses and the Ambanis," Justice A K
Patnaik said.

The apex court said though the existing laws are
sufficient to tackle the menance, there appears to be
resistance at the bureaucratic level.

"The law is there. Everything is there but they are
not enforced. Parliament makes law. But it is all on paper. If
the media really makes an issue of this (exploitation of
children), it will really make the government to act. But
nobody is focussing on the sensitivity of the issue.

"Whatever, guidelines we give must have proper
implementation. It must percolate. Implementation has to be
very clear. NGO, media persons and people like Dr Shanta
Sinha (chairperson of the National Commission for Protection
of Child Rights) should be involved in the mission", the apex
court said.

The apex court said the government had formulated a
number of good policies but was unable to implement the same
due to the influence of vested interest.

"Any number of good policies may be formulated by the
government but they don`t get implemented. Funds get allocated
for other unimportant purposes. Self interest rules in most
cases and it is vested interests who are benefited.

"Everything is there in the policy but there is
resistance. You are seeking the power of the apex court
direction so that there is no resistance," the bench told the
Solicitor General.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 8, 2010 - 20:27

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