Court summons Delhi officials on child labour issue

Court summons Delhi officials on child labour issueNew Delhi : The Delhi High Court Thursday summoned the state chief secretary and labour secretary after they failed to comply with the its earlier directions to conduct raids and rescue children engaged in labour.

A division bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Manmohan ordered the chief secretary and the labour department secretary to appear before it on Nov 13 to explain the reasons for non compliance of its directions.

The bench in the order said: “We are not satisfied with the explanation given by the government counsel. It is unfortunate that the scheme which was formulated by the respondents (NGCT, Child rights commission, NGOs etc) themselves has not been followed.

“In the circumstances, we have no option but to direct the respondent 2 (labour secretary) and Respondent 4 (chief secretary) to appear before this court and explain the reasons for not conducting the raids and rescuing the children as directed by this court.”

“Number of complaints have not been attended by the officers inspite of their giving undertaking before this court that they will take necessary action and conduct raids and rescue the children,” the court said referring to various orders passed by the court earlier.

The court’s direction came after senior counsel H.S. Phoolka appearing for petitioner NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, submitted a list of pending complaints since July 31, 2013. He contended that out of 17 complaints made on different dates from 2011, only four have been attended to by the labour department.

The court was hearing the PIL seeking complete elimination of child labour from the capital.

The city government in co-ordination with other departments had formulated Delhi Action Plan for total abolition of child labour in 2009 but the same has not been implemented as yet, the counsel added.

“Despite repeated orders from the court to rescue atleast 500 children per month for complete eradication of the child labour as per the government data, the officers have failed to do that,” Phoolka told the court.