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~By Kunal Rao

The Delhi government on Friday (May 11) was slapped with contempt notice by Delhi High Court and told to file a compliance report in regards to the September 2014 order by which it had directed them to register private placement agencies in the capital. The court also sought to know why there was a delay in regularising capital placement agencies providing domestic workers.

The court direction came while hearing a contempt petition which was moved in the Delhi HC against the failure of the Delhi government to register placement agencies employing children thus leading to a system of trafficking because of “unregulated functioning of placement agencies”.

Delhi government counsel Ramesh Singh informed the court that they will table the Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill within eight weeks to supply domestic workers. He further said he will file the status report before the next date of hearing September 5, 2018.

The plea, filed by an NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, alleged that due to absence of a regulating framework, placement agencies specifically employ children as they are cheaper to employ and can be easily exploited.

The petition, filed through advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, contended that the
non-implementation of the directions is “fuelling a business that thrives on human trafficking by unregulated placement agencies across the national capital”.

“Consequently, the phenomenon of trafficking has spread its fangs far and wide into our system, affecting the most vulnerable members of our society i.e. children and women,” Kaur added.

The contempt petition is the result of non-implementation of an earlier judgment of the High Court whereby the responsibilities of each state agency was fixed so as to control trafficking from all angles. One of the primary features of the judgment was a direction to GNCTD to register placement agencies within a finite period of time.

However, the judgment delivered on December 24, 2010 was not implemented by the state agencies and no framework was worked out to control and check human trafficking, especially of children, openly being carried out through placement agencies. On December 18, 2013, the Chief Justice had come down heavily on the indifferences of the government and directed the Delhi Government to pass an executive order in terms of the judgment dated December 24, 2010. But Delhi government did not complied with the order and did not pass the executive order. Eventually under the threat of contempt on September 25, 2014, the labour department of Delhi government passed an executive order.

The primary features of the Delhi government’s Executive order dated September 25, 2014 were:

  • Compulsory registration of all placement agencies functioning inside the territory of NCT of Delhi.
  • Licensing of all the placement agencies within 15 days of the issuance of certificate of registration.
  • In the event of non-compliance with the provision of the executive orders penalty shall be levied on the defaulters.

The plea contended that the Labour Department of Delhi government had come up with an executive orders to hoodwink the court after several applications filed by the petitioners. However, till date the order has not been implemented.

It sought that contempt proceedings be initiated against the Delhi government’s Labour Department for their inaction to register these agencies and they be forthwith directed to implement the orders of the court and subsequently the executive orders.

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