Register of rules and notifications and orders by Courts on BLSAA, 1976
|AGENCY : International Justice Mission (IJM)|
START DATE : 20-08-2015
END DATE : 30-04-2016
|T E A M|
In India, bonded labour is defined by The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act (BLSAA), 1976. BLSAA understands bondage as a feudal vestige that institutionalises and operationalises labour vulnerability through the medium of debt. It was argued that with the passing of the BLSAA, bonded labour would be abolished in India. But, available data indicates that despite the law, the system of bonded labour continued, in fact increased. In 1980, nine state governments gave an estimate of about 0.12 million bonded labourers, while in 1990 this number rose to 0.24 million in 12 states. The Bonded Labour Liberation Front of India has put forward the figure of some 5 million adult and 10 million child bonded labourers (ILO 2005).
Realising the poor implementation of BLSAA and low rate of convictions, efforts are on to understand why it is so and to suggest ways to overcome the limitations realising the fact that there is no other law in India to address prevalence of bonded labour in its original and metamorphosed forms. One direction of these efforts had been to propose amendment or suggest replacement of the existing law to make it more relevant and appropriate. There have also been efforts to force courts to adjudicate on cases of bonded labourers filing more and more affidavits. It has also been pointed out that framing tighter rules may help in better implementation of the BLSAA.
It was felt that a serious attempt must be made to locate and collate such efforts. In 2013, as suggested by the International Justice Mission (IJM), CEC undertook the preparation of the Register of rules and notifications framed by Central government, State governments and judicial comments and orders by Supreme Court and High Courts on The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. The information collected was for a period of 36 years-from the day of enforcement of the BLSAA in 1976 till December 2012.
CEC collated 673 documents from the government departments dealing with bonded labour in the eleven states of Delhi, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Rajasthan and the central government. The data so collected were found to be extremely useful for the organisations working against bonded labour, especially who were making administrative and legal means to identify, release and rehabilitate bonded labourers engaging both state and judiciary. However, it was observed that data for all years were not collected for all the States. Moreover, data was collected only up to March 2013. Moreover, Madhya Pradesh, an important state where bonded labourers were identified in large numbers immediately after the promulgation of BLSAA was not covered. Erstwhile Andhra Pradesh has become two States – Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. There were Data Gaps.
In this context, it has been suggested by the IJM that CEC must update the Register of rules and notifications framed by Central government, State governments and judicial comments and orders by Supreme Court and High Courts on The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 from April 2013 till April 2015. The information will be collected from the states of (i) Uttar Pradesh, (ii) Orissa, (iii) Chhattisgarh, (iv) Andhra Pradesh, (v) Telengana, (vi) Punjab, (vii) Rajasthan, (viii) Bihar, (ix) Jharkhand, (x) Karnataka (xi) Tamil Nadu and (xii) Delhi. For the period April 2013 – April 2015, CEC will collect Central government orders, notifications as well as Supreme Court judgements and interim orders.
In addition, CEC will collect information from the State of Madhya Pradesh on rules and notifications framed by the State government and judicial comments and orders by High Court on The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 from April 2013 till April 2015