CHILD LABOUR AMIDST COVID 19: MALPRACTICES OF E-PASS PROCUREMENT?

The Benches of Justices N Kirubakaran and VM Velumani in the present case of CM Sivababu v. State of Tamil Nadu and Others were dealing in a habeas corpus plea which involved young girls between the ages of 13 and 15 who were found working in the yarn spinning company.

A raid was conducted earlier where it was discovered that out of the 331 workers at the Tiruppur company, 133 of them were adolescents between the age of 14 to 18 brought from various Districts, especially from Tiruvannamalai. It was taken into notice no proper e-passes were given to the children working in the company. In fact, no Covid testing or fitness certificates of the children could be produced during the inspection.

In this backdrop, the Bench went on to take critical note that, “This is a classic case, which would demonstrate as to how corrupt Government servants utilize any situation to make an illegal gain.” The court has directed the textile company to explain how the children were brought without e-passes. This also opens the eyes of the Court to see the increasing child labour in Tamil Nadu, calling it the tip of the iceberg. The work and living space in such companies in which the children are made to work is not appreciable.

The company argues that education has been promised to all the children working there which barely convinced the court. An FIR has been filed against the Managing Director and the General Manager of the company. The 6 children named in the plea could be handed over to the parents through the Child Welfare Committee. The matter has been adjourned to be taken up next on August 20. The other respondents to the case like the district authority have been asked to show affidavits regarding the aspect of e-pass procurement,

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