Stressing on the need for a specific law for domestic workers, Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU) Director Dr Shanthakumar stated that it is high time to integrate a legislation to protect their rights.
Speaking at the inaugural address of a virtual regional consultation on ‘Reviewing Laws Related to Inter-State Women Migrant Workers’, jointly organised by Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU) and National Commission for Women (NCW) on Saturday, Dr Shanthakumar said, “Domestic workers are excluded from the purview of labour legislation for a variety of reasons. More than 80 per cent of such workers are women, many of them migrant. They come from backward areas and vulnerable sections of the society, mostly illiterate, and, as a result, they fall prey to many malpractices such as inadequate wages, long working hours, lack of job security, sexual exploitation. It is high time that we have integrated legislation to protect their rights.”
Adding to this, Amod Kant, Chairman, Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council, said, “NCW should pitch for national legislation on the line of the Jharkhand private employment agency and domestic employee bill passed by Jharkhand Assembly in 2016.”
Chavvi Rajawat, sarpanch of Soda village in Rajasthan for 10 years, said that it is unfortunate that is has to take a crisis for the society to think about the plight of migrant workers. She suggested that various state governments should ask village panchayats to collate the data of migrating workers.
“In the colonial era, the law was seen as an instrument of control. This needs to change. Law should be seen as an instrument of empowerment… The government should devise ways of strengthening rural women so they need not migrate to urban areas…,” Justice Sujata V Manohar, retired Supreme Court judge, said.