Refusal of wages and harassment of Bonded labour (Code: PB-SGR-09, Date: 19-Nov-2015 )

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Case Title

Case primary details

Case posted by Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan
Case code PB-SGR-09
Case year 19-Nov-2015
Type of atrocity Begar or other forms of forced or bonded labour
Whether the case is being followed in the court or not? No

Fact Finding

Fact finding date

Fact finding date Not recorded

Case Incident

Case Incident details

Case incident date 19-Dec-2015
Place Village: Not recorded
Taluka:Not recorded
District: SANGRUR
State: Punjab
Police station Not recorded
Complaint date 19-Nov-2015
FIR date 31-Dec-1969

Case brief

Case summary

(1)  Shri Atma Singh S/o Sh. Rulda Singh resident of Village- Mangwal, Sub-Division and District- Sangrur, has approached to the office of above organization and has filed a Self-Declaration which revealed that:-

 

(a)  That he belongs to caste “Ramdasiya Sikh” which has been declared as a Scheduled Caste by the State Government of Punjab.

 

(b)  That Atma Singh, his family members and twelve other family members whose names are mentioned in Annexure A were employed from September 2013 to June 2015 by Chahal B.K.O, Sunam Road, Village- Tunga, District- Sangrur, Punjab, whose present owners are Rajinder Singh Kajli and Taranjit Singh Kajli. This firm is a Brick Manufacturing Factory. The workers were employed as Brick Moulder (Pathera). He is in debt bondage and has made a request to liberate himself, his family members and other co-workers from bonded debt.

 

(c)  That the worker Atma Singh has worked as an Agent (Jamadar) of this Brick kiln and brought eighteen families at this kiln. Along with his work as a jamadar, he and his family workers has also worked as Brick Moulders (Pathera) at this brick kiln.

 

(d)  That the bonded debt advanced to each family at the time of employment, by the brick kiln owner and the bricks moulded by each family are also mentioned in Annexure A.

 

(e)  That there is no facility of clean water, electricity, sanitation, toilets and washing facilities at this brick kiln. The workers were forced to drinking the water of one Tube well but the water of that Tube well is so soiled that after drinking that polluted water so many workers have fallen sick and suffering from diseases but the brick kiln owner did not provide any money for their medical treatment.

 

(f)   That the Brick kiln owner did not pay them their earned wages and on their repeated requests, the amount provided to the workers by the owner, only after fifteen days for their necessary expenses, is also mentioned in Annexure A.

 

(g)  That when the workers have demanded their hard earned wages from the owner, then he refused to give them their wages, even on the other hand he has imposed the bonded debt upon them and the amount of bonded debt is described in Annexure A.

 

(h)  That in the year 2011, some of the families which are mentioned in Annexure A were also working at this brick kiln. The brick kiln owner has provided work to the workers only for two months and after that he has closed the kiln. After the closure of the Brick Kiln, the owner retained all the workers at the brick kiln and did not provide any work to them. When the workers have demanded their earned wages from the owner, then he has refused to give them their earned wages and they have faced starving like situations and forced to left the kiln. During the year 2012, the brick kiln has remained closed for the whole year and in the year 2013, the workers were again employed by the owner and when the workers after completing their work has demanded their wages from him, then he refused to give them their wages even on the other hand he has incurred the bonded debt against them and add that debt amount to the debt amount of the year 2011.

 

(i)    That during the time period from November 2014 to February 2015, the employer did not provide any work to the workers because the owner did not paid money to the persons who have provided soil at the kiln. Whenever the workers have demanded their wages from him, then he refused to pay their wages, by one way or the other. In those starving like situations, the workers even don’t able to meet their necessary expenses.

 

(j)    That when the workers were not providing any work by the owner, then the workers with the help of Panchayat Members of the village asked the owner to settle the matter with the persons, who have provided soil at the kiln. So after settling the matter with these persons, the work has been again started at the kiln. When the workers demanded their earned wages from the owner, but the owner did not provide them their wages according to the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.The brick kiln owner has also taken away from them the receipts, upon which it has been mentioned that how much amount has been provided by the owner.

 

 

(k)  Instead of the paying the workers their due wages as per the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the brick kiln owner did not give them their full wages. The workers mentioned in Annexure A hardly manage to survive on the brick kiln and finally they have forced to left the brick kiln.

 

(l)    That now the brick kiln owner is demanding the bonded debt from the workers which is mentioned in Annexure A.

 

(m)That now the brick kiln owner is continuously harassing the workers and has abused them on caste basis and threatened them saying, if they do not pay his debt amount then the brick kiln owner will take over their dwelling houses, will kill him and will also lodge false and frivolous complaints against them.

 

(2)  That, the facts narrated in Paragraph 2, it is clear that the workers mentioned in Annexure A were subjected to the bonded labour system as defined under S. 2 (g) of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 [“BLSAA”]. The employer has extracted labour from the workers in lieu of the debt advance paid to them. Thereafter the workers were forced to work for wages well below the minimum wages. The workers freedom to leave the brick kiln and choose alternative employment was curtailed by the employer owing to the bonded debt. Due to such deprivation and starvation, the workers had no other choice but to escape from the brick kiln. The workers continue to be in debt bondage in spite of having left the employment.

 

(3)  That no such complaint has been earlier made to this Honorable Commission or any other commission or any court of law according to the information received from the victims.

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