Children working in mills is only tip of iceberg, says Madras HC calling officials demanding bribe 'blood thirsty wolves'

The bench was told by the Tiruppur district SP that a case has been registered against the Mills and the children handed over to the local Child Welfare Committee. 
Madras High Court (File Photo | PTI)
Madras High Court (File Photo | PTI)

CHENNAI: Describing the government officials, who demand bribe for issuance of e-passes as blood thirsty wolves, the Madras High Court has demanded stern action against them.

"The officials are bent upon making booty even in this worst scenario Coronovirus pandemic. It is very shocking to know about such incidents and also about the cut throat corrupt officials in the system. They
are like cruel blood thirsty wolves and they should be dealt with iron hand," a division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and V M Velumani said on August 7. 

The bench was passing interim orders on a habeas corpus petition from C M Sivababu, president of Tamil Desiya Makkal Katchi in Tiruvannamalai praying for a  direction to the Collectors of various
districts and the Tiruppur police to produce six school going teenage girls who were allegedly confided in the illegal custody of Chenniappa Yarn Spinners Private Limited in Avinashi as child labourers and to
set them at liberty.

During the course of hearing through video-conferencing, the judges were told that most of the teenage and adolescent children were brought during the pandemic period by the brokers to work in the Mills
and no proper e-passes had been obtained. No covid test and fitness certificates too were obtained for them.

"This is a classic case, which would demonstrate as to how corrupt government servants utilise any situation to make illegal gain when the whole world is affected with the worst pandemic. While easing out the restrictions for travel of the people in case of emergencies, e-pass system has been introduced by the governments. The instant case is only a tip of an iceberg and throughout the State, there are brokers for getting e-passes for a fee ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. Media has widely reported about the instances of getting e-passes on payments. This aspect has to be looked into seriously by the government," the bench said.

"It is really pathetic to hear the stories of the children, who, for the sake of their family, have come to work without going to schools. Parents should take care of their children and owing to their helplessness, they cannot send their children to work when the government is providing education free of cost and also free food apart from scholarships. Parents should make utmost use of the incentives and facilities instead of sending their wards to work at such a tender age depriving them of their right to education and a
bright future. The incident which is said to be happening in the Mills is only a tip of an iceberg as hundreds of such companies are located in Tiruppur, Coimbatore and Erode districts and it is being said that child labour is rampant in these districts and the circumstances and the living conditions in which they are made to work are not appreciable. Therefore, the police authorities, Labour department and Child Welfare Committees of these districts should be very vigilant and conduct raids regularly to eradicate child labour. Unless, the authorities are vigilant and cautious, this kind of problem cannot be prevented. In any event, this is a social menace affecting the entire society and this issue also has to be addressed simultaneously," the judges added.

The bench was told by the Tiruppur district SP that a case has been registered against the Mills and the children handed over to the local Child Welfare Committee. 

Recording the submission, the judges directed the committee to send the children to their respective parents and posted the matter for further hearing on August 20.

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