Explain the Fundamental Right-Right Against Exploitation(Article-23).

Explain the Fundamental Right-Right Against Exploitation(Article-23).

Prohibition of Traffic in Human Beings and Forced Labour.

May 24, 2019.

The Fundamental Rights are enshrined in part III of the Constitution of India from Articles 12 to 35. The expression ‘ traffic in human beings’ include (a) selling and buying of men, women, and children like goods. (b) immoral traffic in women and children, including prostitution. (c) devadasis. (d) slavery. To punish these acts, the parliament has made the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.

Article 23 prohibits traffic in human beings, begar (forced labour) and other similar forms of forced labour. Any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law. This right is available to both citizens and non-citizens. It protects the individual not only against the state but also against private persons.

The term begar means compulsory work without remuneration. It was a peculiar Indian system under which the local zamindars sometimes used to force their tenants to render services without any payment. In addition to begar, Article 23 prohibits other ‘similar forms of forced labour’ like ‘bonded labour’.

The term ‘forced labour’ means compelling a person to work against his will. The word ‘force’ includes not only physical or legal force but also force arising from the compulsion of economic circumstances, that is, working for less than the minimum wage.

In this regard, the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Contract Labour Act, 1970, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 were made.

Article 23 also provides for an exception to this provision. It permits the state to impose compulsory service for public purposes, as for example, military service or social service, for which it is not bound to pay. However, in imposing such services, the state is not permitted to make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, and class.

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