For Employing A Minor, Delhi HC Directs Couple To Pay 1.5 Lakh Fine & Plant 100 Trees
The Delhi Court agreed to end criminal proceedings against a couple who had employed a minor for household work on the condition that they have to plant 100 trees and pay Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation to the victim.
What did the court say?
Reportedly, Justice Najmi Waziri also directed two other people who acted as agents through which the minor girl was employed at the couple’s house, to offer manual help for planting and taking care of the trees. In addition to placing a fine on the couple, the Delhi High Court asked the two agents to shell out Rs 10,000 each which will go towards the minor’s compensation.
According to Financial Express, the court said, “In the circumstances, the FIR and all proceedings emanating from there are quashed subject to costs of Rs 1.5 lakh to be paid by petitioners No. 1 and 2 (couple) to respondent No.2 (victim)…” The court also noted that the decision to plant 100 trees came after the couple expressed remorse and wished to engage in some sort of social work for causing unnecessary burden upon the administrative machinery.
Hence, the court directed them to plant 50 trees each in Delhi and asked them to report to the deputy conservator of forests for the south division who will assign them the duty of planting trees in the Central Ridge for 10 working days, reported The Times Of India. The court further stated that the trees should be of indigenous variety with a nursery age of three-and-a-half years and a height of at least six feet. The HC even asked the deputy forest conservator to file an affidavit of compliance, along with pictures of plantation before March 2.
Reportedly, an FIR was filed at the Rajouri Garden Police Station for voluntarily causing hurt unlawful compulsory labour under the Indian Penal Code and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. Allegedly, the minor was kept in illegal confinement for three months for household work. She was brought to Delhi by the two agents with her father’s consent. It was also alleged that the victim was assaulted physically whenever she made a mistake and was not compensated for her duration of work.
Problem of child labour in India
While the problem of unemployment is plaguing the Indian socio-economic environment, child labour poses another threat. According to UNICEF, child-labour in India has only shifted from factories to informal home setups — which makes it harder to be detected. The Central government, through different types of machinery like raising the minimum working age to 14 years has tried to curb the problem, but in terms of statistical data, children are still employed at large. According to the 2011 census data, there were 10.1 million child workers under the age of 14.
This welcome move may act as deterrence for others who knowingly or unknowingly employs children for household work. Child labour in informal settings is dangerous and disguised, making children more susceptible to the practice. With this, people should not only make themselves aware but others around them so that the phenomena of child labour can be curbed or at best be stopped.