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The Delhi High Court summoned a top police officer and the Labour Commissioner for the failure to implement its order asking them to take steps for eliminating the menace of child labour.

A bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain expressed its displeasure over the non-filing of status report in the matter by the Delhi government and the police.

Joint Police Commissioner and the Labour Commissioner has been asked by the Delhi High court to appear along with their respective status reports on March 6, the next date of hearing.

According to the court, “Delhi police and state government was directed to file status report in the case, but no report has been filed so far. Concerned Joint Commissioner of Police as well as Secretary/Commissioner of Labour Department will remain present along with the status report on next date of hearing.”

The direction came on a PIL filed by NGO Save the Child Foundation alleging the government agencies do not have any plausible reason for not implementing the July 15, 2007 directions of the court by which 500 child labourers have to be rescued every month.

The plea has alleged that the authorities adopted a “lackadaisical approach” in implementing the court’s order for elimination of child labour.

Earlier, the high court had sought the response of the Centre, Delhi government and the police for their failure in implementing its order.

Senior advocate H S Phoolka had attempted to connect the PIL on child labour with that of a juvenile facing proceedings in the December 16 gang-rape case, claiming ” he was also a victim of such abuse.”

The NGO, in its plea, said that failure to comply with the court directions have resulted in child labourers growing up as “anti-social elements”.

The high court in its July 2007 judgement had accepted an action plan for elimination of child labour in the capital by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and other government departments and had issued directions in the case.

The PIL told if the Delhi government in compliance with the court’s order had rescued 500 child labourers every month, till now over 18,000 victims would have been saved.

It has told that till now only 3,500 children have been rescued in Delhi since July 15, 2007.

According to it, “For these 18,000 rescued child labourers, more than Rs 36 crore ought to have been recovered, as per the direction of the high court and also the Supreme Court, and such money would have been adequate to ensure the rehabilitation of rescued child labourers and their education. However, in reality, none of this has happened.”

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