Labour in Post- Independence Era

A new era began after India attained independence on August15, 1947. Freedom brought a lot of accountability on the social and economic front. India was underdeveloped and the majority of its population was residing in poverty and helplessness as the Britishers had made the use of its people and wealth for centuries. In this way the new era along with freedom brought innumerable problems. The zamindars, landlords and the elite class of the society were exploiting the impoverished section by depriving their basic human rights. This led to the exposure of forced labour in the dawn of independence.

Hence, the leaders of our country were overburdened with the undertaking to deal with this evil and inhuman practice. The leaders were accountable to initiate several positive measures which could eradicate the prevalent system of forced labour. In order to accomplish this objective it was significant to assure the common man about the ending of their exploitation in terms of person and labour along with a life of human dignity. This feature was transformed into practice by incorporating it in the Constitution of India.

Most of the members of the Constituent Assembly were part of the freedom movement and were thoroughly acquainted with problems of the impoverished section of the Indian society. They were fully aware of the different categories of exploitative labour that were prevailing in the country.

Thus, while formulating the early draft proposals and notes on fundamental rights, they embodied a special provision to abolish all forms of exploitative labour. K.T.Shah presented a draft which contained 59 clauses for abolition of all forms of slavery and equal treatment of all human beings before the law. Clause 40 of the draft affirmed prohibition of all forms of forced labour or beggar. Further, the draft provision recognized the right of the government to conscript by law the manpower of the country for national defence and meeting sudden emergency. The draft presented by K.L.Munshi contained detailed provisions for abolition of slavery in all forms, human trafficking and compulsory labour. The draft specifically mentioned about abolition of child labour in all forms and made contravention of these provisions punishable under the laws enacted by the union government. B.R.Ambedkar also presented a draft under which forced labour or involuntary servitude was an offence and could be punished for committing such offence by the law of the land.

On March27, 1947 the Sub-committee on fundamental rights considered the matter of abolition of slavery and forced labour. It was acceded to insert provision that should prohibit forced labour other than beggar but it was also asserted that the prohibition was subject to certain deviation which included specified forms of public service other than service in the armed forces. The further discussions evolved the idea for prohibition of compulsory military training. However, the proposal failed due to lack of majority support. Finally the draft committee consented to inset a provision similar to the American Constitution against “Slavery and Involuntary servitude” and they also asserted that compulsory service for general scheme of education should be barred from the scope of prohibition.
On April 21st and 22nd in 1947, the sub-committee on Fundamental rights put forward the recommendation before the Advisory Committee. After a brief discussion on clause15 the committee with one accord adopted sub-clause (1) which affirmed the prohibition of slavery, human trafficking, beggar and involuntary servitude. The committee eliminated the word ‘slavery’ by inserting the word ‘forced labour’ and adopted the provision without any significant change. After that several amendments were done in the Draft Article and in the final draft the provisions were put in Article 23 and 24 as right against exploitation under Part III of the Constitution of India which finally came into effect on Jan 26, 1950.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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