Madras High Court: A Division Bench of N. Kirubakaran and V.M. Velumani, JJ., while addressing a matter with regard to child labour and the corrupt government officials existing in the system stated that,
“Parents should take care of their children and owing to their helplessness, they cannot send their children to work when the Government is providing education free of cost and also, free food apart from scholarships.”
On the directions of this Court, Superintendent of Police, Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Tiruppur along with Child Welfare Committee officials had raided the Chenniyappa Yarn Spinners (P) Ltd., however, no child labour was found.
Chairperson, Child Welfare Board submitted that on an earlier date when the raid was conducted, during that time two child labour was to be working on the premises along with a few adolescents.
Few adolescents who were working at 8th respondents company stated that they were not willing to work as they were underpaid and working conditions were also not proper.
In view of the above situation, workers were rescued and kept at “SNEHA CHILD HOME”, Tiruppur and later handed over to their parents.
Court also enquired a few adolescent workers working in the 8th respondent company, who stated that they were not facing any problems working there but the Court observed that the said children were school-going children and it is known as to how they were entrusted with work when they had to go to school.
Bench also observed that the children were being tutored to speak and say statements that they were being educated while working, which on the face of it looks false.
It is also brought to the notice of this Court that some of the children, who have written the Plus Two Examination are unaware that the results have been declared. When that is the position, it is very difficult to believe that the Company is providing education to them.
Another significant fact that was brought to the notice of the Court was that most of the adolescent children were brought during the pandemic period to work in the 8th respondent company and no proper e-passes were obtained.
To bring children from one district to another without e-passes only implies that if money is paid, the authorities would bend and flout the Rules.
Bench added to its decision that the present case is a classic case that demonstrates as to how corrupt government servants utilize any situation to make an illegal gain.
Media has widely reported about the instances of getting e-passes by payment to authorities. This aspect has to be looked into seriously by the Government.
“…some of the corrupt officials, who are involved in issuing e-passes are bent upon making booty even in this worst scenario.”
“Cruel bloodthirsty wolves and they should be dealt with an iron hand.”
Court was shocked to note existence of cut-throat corrupt officials existing in the system.
Bench directed the 8th respondent to file an affidavit as to how they were able to bring the children to company premises without e-passes during the lockdown period.
The present case is only the tip of an iceberg as hundreds of such companies are in existence with rampant child labour, therefore police officials need to be vigilant and cautious of this social menace and hence conduct frequent raids to curb the same.
Matter has been listed for 20-08-2020. [C.M. Sivababu v. State of T.N., HCP No. 1299 of 2020, decided on 07-08-2020]