January 11, 2018
The National Human Rights Commission, in a bizarre case of death due to electrocution of a 6 year old girl in a Coimbatore Power Loom godown in Tamil Nadu, has concluded, on the basis of material on record, that she was the daughter of a bonded labour couple. She was apparently forced to stay back in the factory premises as a security for his parents, when they went to visit their elder daughter in the village. The girl got electrocuted as soon as she touched the fence around the Power Loom godown running on illegal electricity connection.
Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Government of Tamil Nadu through its Chief Secretary to show cause, within six weeks, why a relief of Rs. 3 lakh should not be recommended to be paid to next of kin of the deceased.
Further, the District Magistrate Coimbatore has been directed to declare the parents of the victim as bonded labourers and issue their release certificates.
He has also been asked to ensure their rehabilitation, strictly, as per the Provisions of Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and submit compliance report with the proof of payment within six weeks positively.
During the course of enquiry, the Commission found that the concerned State Authorities could not provide any cogent argument why the State Electricity Authorities could not take any action against the illegal electricity connection taken by the owner of the Power Loom. It was only after the protest by local NGO following the electrocution of the girl that a case was registered and one person was arrested for taking illegal electric connection. It also noted that no records or registers were verified and information was provided by the State administration to show that the parents of the victim girl were not bonded labourers as they were being paid wages in conformity with the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
The Commission has observed that inaction of the State Electricity Authorities amounted to negligence in the prevention of violation of human rights of the victim for which the State is liable.
The Commission had registered the case on the basis of a complaint dated on the 1st September, 2014.