Court asks Himachal police for safe return of bonded labourers

Shimla, Dec 19 : The Himachal Pradesh High Court Thursday directed the police to ensure that 55 bonded brick-kiln labourers were freed and allowed to return to their native places in Uttar Pradesh without hindrance.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Kuldip Singh passed these orders on two separate habeas corpus petitions filed by Intjar and Faimudeen, alleging that their family members and other co-labourers were being kept as bonded labourers at two brick-kilns in Sundernagar town.

They alleged that the proprietors of the brick-kiln were not paying wages, and their "musclemen" were keeping a close watch on their movements.

The high court, in its previous orders, had directed the police to produce the bonded labourers. They were produced in the court Thursday, where all of them said they wished to return to their homes, but had no money to do so as they were not being paid wages.

At this, the court directed the owners of the brick-kiln to pay Rs.1,500 to each of the labourers and allow them to return to their native places. Police officials have been instructed to receive the belongings of the labourers and facilitate their movement without hindrance.

The court also asked the petitioners to approach the labour commissioner for payment of wages. The labour commissioner was directed by the court to examine the claims and determine the amounts owed, and submit a report to the court in two weeks.

--IANS (Posted on 19-12-2013)

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