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Ensure safety,education for child workers: HC

The Delhi High Court,on Wednesday,directed the Government of National Capital Territory and all it concerned departments to “immediately” implement the recommendations of the action plan...

The Delhi High Court,on Wednesday,directed the Government of National Capital Territory and all it concerned departments to “immediately” implement the recommendations of the action plan,comprehensively drafted by the National Commission on Protection of Child Rights for protection and interim care for rescued children.

Accepting the report with minor modifications,a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah noted it was high time that the mandates of a 1997 Supreme Court judgement be followed to prevent any further harm to the children.

As per the court’s directive,which has come in pursuant to a PIL filed by Save the Childhood Foundation (Bachpan Bachao Andolan),every child rescued from an unsafe job will receive Rs 20,000 in compensation,which will be recovered from the employer. Removing the bar on disbursement of the compensation,the Bench,also comprising Justice Manmohan,said it was not essential to obtain a conviction order against the employer in order to make him shell out the compensation.    

“The said amount will be recovered as arrears of land revenue and will be utilised for the educational needs of the rescued child even if the child has subsequently crossed the age of 14 years,” held the court.

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Fastening several departments like the Delhi Police,Department of Labour,Women and Child Welfare Department,Education department,Health department and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi,with the responsibility to prevent child labour and to put in place an effective rescue mechanism,the Bench also called for motivating NGOs to enhance their capacity to accommodate more children and to register more children’s homes in the Capital.

Considering a status report submitted by the Child Welfare Department over the limited capacity of the children homes,the court has asked the Labour department to begin implementing the Delhi Action Plan by accommodating,for the time being,about 500 children every month.

The Bench also realised that implementation of the action plan could encounter problems and said the departments could approach it in future for amendment or clarification in this regard. The NCT Government has been asked to file the first status report over the execution of the plan on January 13,2010.

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The PIL filed through senior counsel H S Phoolka had demanded that all government departments and agencies should work in co-ordination in rescuing child labourers across the city,especially the ones engaged in zari units. The petition had alleged a lack of planning and implementation of the rehabilitation process of the government.

Responsibilities under Delhi Action Plan
Delhi Police

The concerned Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) should participate in the raids by the Action Force. The employers of child labourers should be arrested. The police should treat the liberated children with respect and honour.

Department of Labour
Ensure continuous active surveillance and immediate action to rescue children. To recover the penalty from the employers. Child labour should be prevented even if it does not fall under the dangerous job category. Care for the liberated child labourers.

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Child Welfare Department
To generate awareness against child labour. Help rescued children return to mainstream education. 

Education Department
To initially set up 250 Alternative Innovate Education Centres in areas of high child labour concentration and/or in the areas having large number of out-of-school children. To ensure that all the children at NRBCs/RBCs are given free mid-day meals.

MCD
Under its Slum Development Programme,the MCD should enhance the standard of living for all children living in slums. Ensure access to free health check-up and medical care,quality education,recreation,vocational training and community life. MCD schools should provide free and compulsory education to all rescued child labourers without any discrimination. To mentor non-formal education programmes run by NGOs to bring all out-of-school children into the fold of mainstream education.

First published on: 16-07-2009 at 01:13:01 am
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