To eradicate child labor, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has given Punjab government six months to register all brick kilns in the province.
While hearing a petition regarding the recovery of eight children allegedly detained by an owner of a kiln factory, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh of the LHC Bahawalpur bench said that the menace of bonded and child labor is rampant despite the steps taken to eliminate it.
We are trapped in a vicious circle which can be broken only by a holistic approach, and the first step is an effective enforcement of the laws by the government and its functionaries.
Justice Saleem also ordered SHO Noshehra Jadid Police Station, Bahawalpur, to bring the kids in the next hearing.
He ordered the provincial and the federal governments to strictly implement all relevant laws to curb this menace in Punjab and across the country.
The court ruled that the employment of children below 14 should be banned from all sectors of the economy including agriculture, brick kilns, mining, tanneries, carpet weaving, glass-bangle making, construction, and fisheries, etc.
It ordered the deputy commissioners of every district to arrange the issuance of CNICs to brick kiln works and registration of their children by NADRA within the given deadline.
As per the 32-page verdict, no children younger than 14 shall be allowed to work at any brick kiln. Moreover, every appointment at brick kilns across Punjab shall be under a written contract under Section 3 of the Punjab Prohibition of Child Labour at Brick Kilns Act, 2016.
No brick kiln owner or manager shall give any worker an advance exceeding Rs. 50,000, and all such activities shall be registered in the prescribed manner.
Moreover, the court orders every brick kiln owner to pay a statutory contribution to the Employees’ Social Security Institution as per the law. In case of non-compliance, the dues shall be recovered with penalties under Section 23 of the Provincial Employees Social Security Ordinance 1965.