HC notice to Punjab, Haryana on plea against bonded labour

The Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday sought a response from the Union government and the governments of Punjab and Haryana on a petition seeking criminal action as per law in cases of bonded labour in the region and directions for rehabilitation of the rescued labourers. The petition has been filed by a Delhi-based organisation National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour through advocate Arjun Sheoran. The organisation through its convener, Nirmal Gorana, has sought directions for effective implementation of the law to stop the bonded labour system in the region and ensure disbursement of minimum wages to the labourers who are released. “It is not merely enough to identify and release the bonded labourers, but it is even more important to rehabilitate them after the release. If the said rehabilitation is not done then the rescued bonded labourers would again be driven into the bonded labour system and would be subjected to exploitation due to poverty, helplessness and despair,” the plea reads. The organisation in the plea highlighted at least three cases registered in Punjab and Haryana since last year against the bonded labour in brick kilns and told the court that even though the district administrations are of assistance in rescue operations but they fail at their duty to rehabilitate the victims and specifically in granting any interim protection to them. “There has also been lack of criminal action against the contractors, business owners and other persons, who are liable to be prosecuted,” the plea said, adding there is no proper implementation of the law related to bonded labour in region. Source: The Indian Express