Ludhiana, 10 June: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner to declare 10 child labourers rescued from a factory in Ludhiana as bonded labourers.
The panel has further asked the DC to issue their release certificates and ensure strict compliance with the Central Scheme for the Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers, 2021.
The NHRC said, citing Supreme Court decisions, that when no statutory record was maintained and produced before the inquiry team by the alleged employer, there shall be a presumption that the labourers engaged are bonded labourers, as per Supreme Court decisions in cases, and release certificates shall be issued for rehabilitation.
“…Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Punjab is directed to take lawful action to declare the labourers as bonded labourers and to issue their release certificate for rehabilitation. He is also directed to ensure strict compliance with the ‘Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer Scheme-2016’ and/or the ‘Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer-2021’….” the Commission said in its order.
According to legal experts working on the cases, the majority of children rescued after 2015 were not issued release certificates and hence were unable to receive the full compensation.
The complainant in the case, advocate Yogesh Parshad, president of the Law Power Association, stated that on August 5, 2021, 10 bonded labourers, including nine adolescents, were rescued from a knit fab factory in the Basti Jodewal area and had been waiting for release certificates, which were supposed to be issued "within 24 hours of the rescue."
The complainant had alleged that the children were forced to work in inhuman conditions and without wages with the employers violating several laws and further requested for issue of release certificate to the rescued child labourers, their rehabilitation, recovery of back wages/due wages from the employer and registration of an FIR in the matter.