Today Bonded Labour System is the most widespread form of slavery. It denies the victims to enjoy their fundamental rights. The victims are denied from freedom of movement, freedom of occupation, freedom of speech and expression. The main objective of this paper is to provide analytical preview over Bonded Labour System. The paper explains the reason why after so many years bonded labour act a very efficient and successful piece of legislation has still not been.
Bonded Labour can be referred as relation between employer and employee by use of force. In this the labourer is forced to work conditionally for the employer at unreasonable wages. This includes certain factors which are debt, poverty, landlessness etc. It can also be defined as a form of slavery where the person and his successors are made to work for creditor against lending a loan until it is paid back. The system is commonly known as Bandhua Mazdoori.
Later, the Bonded Labour have been abolished in India vide The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and it still exists.
Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act 1976
Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act provides the abolition of bonded labour. This act prohibits, criminalizes, and extinguishes any system of debt bondage.
Salient Features –
● It came into force on 25th October 1975 and it extends to whole of India, but it is implemented by the respective state governments. It comprises of 10 sections.
●It has been established with an aim to provide for abolition of Bonded Labour System and in preventing economic exploitation of weaker sections.
●According to Section 4 and Section 5, Bonded Labour is strictly abolished and any custom related to it has been made void.
●Every Labourers is free from his liability to pay debt and is discharged of all his obligation to render bonded labour.
●The Bonded Labour who are detained must be released under this system.
●Under Section 10, State government is conferred with powers to impose duty on magistrate of district to ensure the enforcement of act.
Some of the provisions regarding the Bonded Labour are:
● Article 14, 15 & 16 guarantees equality and equal treatment to every individual.
● Article 19 (1) (g) guarantees freedom of trade and profession.
● Article 21 guarantees right to life and liberty. Whereas the practice of the Bonded Labour System violates all these constitutionally mandated rights.
● Article 23 prohibits traffic in human being and forced labour. It also prohibits practice of debt bondage and other forms of slavery both modern and ancient.
● Article 24 prohibits the employment of the children in any of the hazardous occupation like factories, mines, etc.
● Article 23 and Article 24 is placed together under heading ‘Right against Exploitation’, which is India’s constitutionally proclaimed fundamental right.
Success of Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act
●This act has helped a lot of people free from clutches of draconian system.
●This act has helped the economic condition of those people who are burdened with loans and unfair practices by creditor.
●This act has helped the labourers in relocation
Reason for Persistence of Bonded Labour:
●There is lack of awareness among the employers and workers.
●In Bonded Labour System there is low conviction rates.
●Bonded labour System have migratory nature.
●The district-level vigilance committees do not take their duties seriously.
●The Implementation of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 is weak.
The measures which should be adopted are:
● Public awareness among all the individuals and education must be provided to all.
● Schemes which are productive and income generating must be formulated in advance.
● Only after duly consultancy from labourers and involved NGO’s, scheme should be chosen.
● Humanitarian training program should be formulated to deal with bonded labours.
● There should be strict enforcement of welfare and labour legislation.
● There should be more stringent penal laws for dealing with menace of Bonded Labour.
Just by making laws and not enforcing them is not sufficient. Bonded Labour violates the basic human rights of labours therefore, it must be tackled and eliminated vigorously. Progress has been made under the act. Loopholes and negligence present have been removed completely. Moreover, many steps are also taken to improve the implementation of Bonded Labour Abolition Act.
Bonded Labour still continues to play a significant role in India because of the poor implementation of the act. The real problem of Bonded Labour System is the issue of welfare of whole of nation. Some of the obstacles which stop the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) act from being enforced are:
- Class and Caste Bias
- Lack of adequate enforcement staff
- Lack of accountability
From the facts stated above, it can be concluded that the system of Bonded Labour had been in existence in India from most ancient times. The problem of Bonded Labour is dynamic in nature and it can reoccur at any point of time. Therefore, Bonded Labour must be rehabilitated as soon as they are released otherwise these laboures will die of starvation. The state government should also take necessary steps to annihilate the causes that leads a person to physical or mental cruelty which is basically involved in Bonded Labour System.
Q.1. What is meant by Bonded Labour System?
= Bonded Labour System isdefined as a form of slavery where the person and his successors are made to work for creditor against lending a loan until it is paid back.
Q.2. What is Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act?
= Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act came into force on 25th October 1975 and it extends to whole of India, but it is implemented by the respective state governments. This act prohibits, criminalizes, and extinguishes any system of debt bondage.
Q.3. What Is the Reason Behind Abolition of Bonded Labour System?
= The main reason behind abolition of Bonded Labour System is to prevent the economic and physical exploitation of the weaker sections of the people.