23 child labourers rescued: NHRC sends notice to Delhi govt, police chief; calls for survey

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) The NHRC said on Tuesday that it issued a notice to the Delhi government and the city's police commissioner over reports of 23 child labourers being rescued from the Northwest district.

They were reportedly brought from nearby states and allegedly worked in various factories, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said in a statement.

A survey of Delhi is required to know if there are more industrial units where children are being engaged as labourers and what action has been taken against them, it said.

The rights body took suo motu cognisance of a media report from July 5 that said 23 child labourers, including nine girls, were rescued from the Saraswati Vihar area.

It observed that the content of the report, if true, raised a serious issue of violation of the rights of the children.

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act prohibits the employment of children under the age of 14 in any capacity. The law also makes it a criminal offence to employ a child.

Accordingly, the NHRC issued notices to the Delhi chief secretary and the police commissioner to submit a detailed report within two weeks.

The Northwest Delhi district magistrate has been directed to submit a report indicating the action taken, according to provisions of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, steps taken for their rehabilitation and reunion with their respective families as well as to continue their education, the commission said.

The district magistrate is also expected to inform regarding legal action taken if any child labourer was being kept "under bondage", it added.

Earlier, the commission came across such complaints or news reports that alleged violations of labour laws by owners of some factories running in the national capital. In view of this, the commission also sought to know about the action taken against such delinquent employers, the statement said.

In a separate statement, the NHRC said it took suo motu cognisance of a media report from July 5, alleging that the infrastructure of a civil hospital in Jind in Haryana was in "poor condition".

"There are 55 sanctioned posts of doctors in the hospital out of which only 19 posts are filled. Reportedly, about 2,000 patients visit the hospital daily. However, most of them are referred to other hospitals as it has neither proper medical equipment nor medicines. The monkey menace in the hospital has further added to their woes," the statement said.

The commission observed the content of the news report, if true, raised a serious issue of violation of the right to health and medical care of the patients.

Accordingly, it issued a notice to the Haryana chief secretary, seeking a detailed report within one week.

The report is expected to include the steps taken or proposed to be taken to improve the overall condition of the Jind Civil Hospital so that patients can get medical care without any difficulty and are not referred to the other hospitals due to the non-availability of doctors and other necessary life-saving facilities, it said. PTI KND SZM