Shafiq R Khan


Delhi minister flouts Child Labour laws

In a brazen violation of Child Labour laws, Delhi's Food and Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf has employed a domestic help who is under the age of 18 years - under Child Labour laws employing children under 18 is illegal.

This was revealed by the NewsX’s Special Investigation Team on Saturday. After the story was aired on the channel, Delhi police raided the house of the minister in Delhi.

During the investigation conducted with the help of a hidden camera, Raju, name changed, was found to be working at Yusuf's residence.

Raju is the eldest son of his parents. He has five siblings and stays with them in a slum near Turkman Gate. After school hours he works at Yusuf’s official residence.

The minister is liable for punishment under India’s Child Labour laws.

The law says:

An offence under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 can lead to imprisonment up to 1 year and a fine upto Rs 20,000. An offence under the Juvenile Justice (care and Protection of Children) Act of 2000, can lead to imprisonment up to 3 years. An offence under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act can lead to imprisonment up to 3 years and in the Indian penal code.

The Delhi High Court in a recent judgement has clarified that it’s illegal to employ anyone who is under 18 years.

It's inconceivable that a minister in the Delhi government is unaware of these facts. The easiest way to side step the law is to tutor child labourers to lie about their age.

So it's not surprising that even Raju, who says he is 15-year-old, fakes his age.

To verify his age, NewsX went to his school and dug up his records to see if he was in fact the age he claimed to be.

In the school records, Raju was born on February 2, 1998. The documents confirm that Raju, who works as a child labourer at Yousuf’s house, is just 11-year-old.

Further confirmation came from Raju's mother.

In fact, Raju admitted on hidden camera that there were other child labourers like him in Haroon Yusuf's house.

The minister may have given food and shelter to the underprivileged children, he may have facilitated Raju's admission to a Delhi government run school and he may also be a good paymaster, but does he not realize that by employing child labourers he is on the wrong side of the law?

People employing child labourers justify it on charitable grounds. But fact is that this is a criminal act.

If Ministers in the national capital’s government find nothing wrong in employing children, it just goes to show how far we are from making India child labour free.

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