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Right Against Exploitation

Once the right to liberty and equality is granted, it follows that every citizen has a right not to be exploited. Yet the Constitution makers thought is was necessary to write down certain clear provisions to prevent exploitation of the weaker sections of the society.

The Constitution mentions three specific evils and declares these illegal. First, the constitution prohibits ‘traffic in human beings’. Traffic here means selling and buying of human beings- usually women, for immoral purposes. Second, our Constitution also prohibits forced labour or begar in any form. ‘Begar’ is a practice where the worker is forced to render service to the ‘master’ free of charge or at a nominal remuneration. When this practice takes place on a life-long basis, it is called the practice of bonded labour. Finally, the Constitution also prohibits child labour. No one can employ a child below the age of fourteen to work in any factory or mine or in any other hazardous work, such as railways and ports. Using this as a basis many laws have been made to prohibit children from working in industries such as beedi making, firecrackers and matches, printing and dyeing.

On the basis of these news reports write a letter to the editor or a petition to a court highlighting the violation of right against exploitation:

A petition was filed in the Madras High Court. The petitioner said a large number of children aged between seven and 12 were taken from villages in Salem district and sold at auctions at Olur Nagar in Kerala’s Thrissur district. The petitioner requested the courts to order the government to check these facts. (March 2005)

Children, from the age of five, were employed in the iron ore mines in the Hospet, Sandur and the Ikal areas in Karnataka. Children were forced to carry out digging, breaking stones, loading, dumping, transporting and processing of iron ore with no safety equipment, fixed wages and working hours. They handled a high-level of toxic wastes and were exposed to mine dust, which was above the permissible level. The school dropout rate in the region was very high. (May 2005).

Rural Primary Education


The latest annual survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation found that the number of female child labourers was growing both in rural and urban areas. The survey revealed there were 41 female child labourers per thousand worker population in rural areas as against the previous figure of 34 per thousand. The figure for male child had remained at 31. (April 2005)

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