Indian constitution recognizes the right of its citizen to live with personal liberty through the fundamental right ‘Right against exploitation’. Article 23 and Article 24 provides this right. ‘Right against exploitation’ prohibits human exploitation in any form.
Article 23 states that:
- “Traffic in human beings and beggar and similar other forms of forced labor are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.”
- “Nothing in this article shall prevent the state from imposing compulsory service for public purposes and in imposing such service the state shall not make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste of class or any of them.”
These lines of article 23 identify that slavery or forced labor is clearly human exploitation. Any non voluntary works performed are considered to be against the human right. The scope of this article is wider. Any type of persuasion is recognized to be violation of this fundamental right of citizen of India. Forcing landless laborers to work wage less or forcing helpless women to prostitution is equally crime. Forcing people to render national service based on religion, caste and race is strictly prohibited according to this fundamental right. Beggary i.e. works without wages or equal remuneration is included in forced labor. Any Indian resident (need not be an Indian citizen) is subjected to this right.
Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (1956), Bonded labor abolition act (1976), Minimum wages act (1948) or Equal remuneration act (1976) are the laws enacted based on the fundamental right”Right against exploitation”
The Article 24 states that:
“No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or, engaged in any other hazardous employment.”
Article 24 is dedicated to children under the age of 14. Children of this age are expected to study in schools. Hence engaging children to hazardous environment are considered to be an offence against the fundamental right against exploitation.
According to Supreme Court direction in 1996, any employer offending this right shall be fined Rs. 20000 to Child Labor Rehabilitation Welfare Fund. Child Rights Act, 2005 is enacted based on this right. National/ State Commission for Protection of Child Right and many children courts are established along the country for the speedy trial of child offences or violation of child rights. In 2006, government banned employment of children in hotels, shops, factories along with the hazardous environments already considered.
Right against exploitation is an important right for protecting citizens from domestic and work hazards. Poor, weak and marginalized part of the society is highly benefited from this right. Proper and exemplary trials of the cases of this ground can help in eradicating violations against women and children. Human trafficking and forced labor are prevalent and it’s high time to raise voice against these illegal practices. Implementation of the laws cannot alone do the job. Proper awareness about the subjects must reach the citizens to help them save themselves. Citizen must realize that any motivation or coercion involved behind people’s action is against the ‘Right against exploitation’.