Part III of the Indian Constitution consists of fundamental rights (Article 12-35) which are further divided into 6 types or categories of fundamental rights, these are the following;
1. Right to Equality (Article 14 – 18)
2. Right To Freedom (Article 19 – 22)
3. Right Against Exploitation (Article 23 – 24)
4. Right To Freedom Of Religion (Article 25 -28)
5. Cultural & Educational Rights (Article 29 – 30)
6. Right To Constitutional Remedies (Article 32 – 35)
Right against exploitation come under article 23 and 24.
The concept of fundamental rights is taken from the constitution of the USA, where it is known as the bill of rights.
The fundamental rights in our constitution are also called the Magna Carta of India.
The objective of fundamental rights is to provide equal rights to all individuals, dignity, and Unity of the Nation.
Right against exploitation:
Right against exploitation consists of the following things;
Prohibition of human trafficking (Buy/sell of human beings) and forced labour (included in article 23).
It completely bans the trafficking of the human body and prohibits forced labour as well as modern slavery.
This right is available to both citizens as well as to non-citizens.
It Protects individuals against the state as well as against private persons it means that the state cannot force anyone to work in inhumane conditions even private persons or institutions can not do the same.
What is the meaning of the trafficking of humans?
The expression “trafficking of human” includes immoral traffic of women and children including prostitution, Selling and buying of the human body, customs like Devdasi, and the other modern slavery-like forced labour or bonded labour or bandhua majdoor.
The traffic of human beings for prostitution or begging and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence and punishable in accordance with the law.
Nothing in this article shall prevent the state from imposing compulsory service for public purposes, and in imposing such service the State shall not make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, or class, or any of them.
Some exception of article 23 is that;
The state can impose compulsory service for public purposes like social service or Military Service for that state cannot be bound to pay.
But one thing that the state will not discriminate in such services on grounds of race, religion, caste, or sex.
Some of the words should be clarified like beggar, bonded or forced labour, etc.
Beggar means that work without remuneration in compulsory circumstances.
In forced or bonded labour the person is compelled to work against his will and force can be physical, legal, and mental.
Some of the acts by the Parliament passed to abolish the forced labour and to sustain article 23 are;
Contract labour act 1970: Through this act, the labours are provided a fixed-time period for their work and they cannot be removed from their work in between the contact period.
Minimum wages act 1948: This minimum wage Act set a minimum wage for the working people and anyone cannot give less than the amount mentioned in the act.
Bonded labour system (abolition) act 1976: Through this act, the bonded labour was prohibited and made a punishable offence, and provisions of punishment and penalty are also mentioned for those involved in this crime.
Equal remuneration act 1976: This act provides equality of remuneration where the same amount for the same work is provided by this act and no discrimination will be there.
Article 24 prohibits the employment of children working in a factory or in any hazardous environment or conditions. This also comes under the right against exploitation of the fundamental right.
This article prohibited the employment of children below 14 years of age in any factory or other hazardous activities like construction work or Railway.
Here we need to mention that it does not prohibit the employment of children below is 14 years in any harmless or innocent work.
The Supreme Court in 1996 directed the government to establish a child labour rehabilitation welfare fund for collecting money from the offending employers.
The fund is used for the education, health, and nutrition of the child labours living in the rehabilitation centres.
Parliament enacted the commission for protection of child rights act in 2005.
The national and state commission was established for the protection of children and the children court established for speedy trial of the offence against children under article 24.
A landmark decision was made by the government in 2006, that it banned the employment of children in any harmless or innocent work as well as a domestic servant or worker in a business establishment like hotels or dhabas.
However, at present children under 14 years of age are prohibited from employment in hazardous occupation but work in non-hazardous occupations are merely regulated.
In 1986 the child labour prohibition and Regulation Act was amended and brought some changes also. This act was renamed as the “child and adolescent labour prohibition act”. It strengthens the former act also and made offenses cognizable and increased the punishment.
Amendment which prohibits employment of children and adolescents in the hazardous occupation increased the age from 14 to 18 and employment of children below 14 years of age prohibited to work in 18 different occupations and 65 processes.
Child labour prohibition and regulation Amendment Act 2017 focuses on to prohibition, rescue, prevention, and rehabilitation of child and adolescent workers.
This rule also clarified that employment of children in family enterprises and for the child artists, the working hour and conditions must be specified and specifies that children below 14 years of age can work in family Enterprises or shop but not during the school time, which means that the education of children should not disturb.
Others act like the factory act 1948 specifies that the working-age of children should not be less than 14 years.
Another act is the mines act 1952 which mentions that children under 18 years of age cannot work.
In India as well as in the world, we are still unable to reduce child labour according to the census 2011, 10.1 million child labours still exist in India.
Child labour impacts the basic education of the children even if the child is not educated it will impact in future standard of living which means increasing poverty.
If the children will work in a hazardous factory, it would impact their health and reduce the living age.
Childrens are more vulnerable to exploitation and they mainly work in an unorganised sector so there is a need to make stringent law which can implement smoothly and monitoring the implementation should be the priority.
This article is written by;
Mr. Pankaj Kumar Gupta
(Email ID: [email protected])