New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Monday said the practice of bonded labour is rampant in certain industries and asked the vigilance committees to give more attention to these areas and take prompt action in the case of violations.

“Bonded labour, it may be noticed, is rampant in brick kilns, stone quarries, crushing mines, beedi manufacturing, carpet weaving, construction industries, agriculture, in rural and urban unorganized and informal sector, power looms and cotton handlooms, fish processing etc”, said a bench of Justice K S Radhakrisdhnan and Justice Dipak Misra in their judgment.

Section 13 of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, provides for setting up of vigilance mechanism at the district and sub-divisional level for the rescue and rehabilitation of the bonded labourers.

Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Radhakrishnan said the PIL petition has brought to the notice of this court “tell-tale miseries of bonded labourers in our country and their exploitation and the necessity of identifying and checking the practice of bonded labour in this country and to rehabilitate those who are victims of this practice”.

The petition was moved by the NGO Public Union for Civil Liberties.

The court directed the vigilance committees to give more attention to these industries and take prompt action in case violation is noticed.

The court found that the present allocation of Rs 20,000 for the rehabilitation of the freed bonded labours is not adequate.

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