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Domestic Workers in India:Need for A Comprehensive Law


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1 M.G University, Kottayam, Ernakulam, India
     

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In India, exploitation of domestic workers is rampant. Such incidents involving women and children are regularly reported. With no rights, most of them have become contemporary slaves. Many of them are trafficked and exploited by the placement agencies, which operate without any form of State regulations. In the last few decades there has been a tremendous growth in the demand for domestic workers. To meet this demand there has been a spurt of thousands of placement agencies providing domestic workers. The feeble master-servant relationship leads to low wages, sexual abuse, cruelty and ill-treatment of domestic workers. Employment of children as domestic workers is another serious issue. Individuals belonging to the lower strata of the society are forced to domestic work on account of their financial backwardness. The governing authority has always turned blind eye towards the welfare of this unorganised sector. The stray incidents of judicial intervention are the only ray of hope. A comprehensive legislation is the need of the hour.

Keywords

Domestic Worker, Social Security, Minimum Wage, Sexual Harassment, State Insurance, Unorganised Workers.
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  • Nicola C. Armacost, “Domestic Workers in India: A Case for Legislative Action” 36 (1) JILI 53-63 (1994)
  • Tanuja Trivedi, Domestic Women Workers, (Jnanada Prakashan (P&D), New Delhi, 2009), p. 187
  • Prachi Jaiswal, Child Labour (A Sociological Study) (Shipra Publications, 2000), p.12
  • Section 2 (a),The Domestic Workers (Welfare and Regulation of Employment) Bill, 2015
  • Ibid. Section 2 (b)
  • Article 1 (b), ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, 2011
  • Ibid. Article 1 (a)
  • Ibid. Article 1 (c)
  • Clause 2.39, Draft Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India, New Delhi, Dated 16th March 2017
  • Article 3, International Labour Organisation Convention on Domestic Workers, 2011
  • Ibid.
  • Article 11, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 3 September 1981
  • Bachpan Bachao v. Union of India (2011) 177 DLT 198
  • Article 14, the Constitution of India, 1950
  • Ibid, Article 15, See also, NHRC v. State of Arunachal Pradesh; AIR 1996 SC 1234
  • AIR 1984 SC 802
  • Article 39, Constitution of India, 1950
  • 1955 ILLJ 129 SC
  • Rajamani Transports v. Their Workmen, 1952 II LLJ 785 (LAT)
  • Kamala Sankaran, “Domestic Work, Unpaid Work and Wage Rates” 48 (43) EPW 85-89 (2013)
  • The Workmen of Reptakus Brett Co. v. Reptakus Brett Co Ltd, AIR 1992 SC 504
  • G.O (P) No.202/2016 LBR, dtd. 29 Dec 2016, Labour and Skill (E) Department of Government of Kerala
  • Uma Kothari, “Women’s Paid Domestic Work and Rural Transformation; A Study in South Gujarat” in Padmini Swaminathan (ed.), Women and Work (Orient Black Swan, 2002), p. 245
  • AIR 1997 SC 3011
  • Section 3 (1), the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013
  • Ibid., Section 3 (2)
  • Ibid., Section 2 (o)
  • Ibid., Section 2 (n)
  • “Respondent” means a person against whom the aggrieved woman has made a complaint. (Section 2 (m))
  • Ibid., Section 2 (a)
  • ZIR 1987 Ker 103
  • Section 2 (b), The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008
  • Ibid., Section 2 (k)
  • Ibid., Section 2 (l)
  • Ibid., Section 2 (m)
  • Ibid., Section 5
  • Ibid., Section 6
  • Special Leave to Appeal l (Criminal) No. 150/2012
  • The apex court had on March 24, 2017, directed the Centre to constitute a National Social Security Board as per the provisions of the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, enacted in the year 2008. The Centre had set up the board on May 22, 2017 See, National Domestic Workers Welfare Trust v. The State of Jharkhand (2014) 1 AIR Jhar R 249
  • Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India, (2011) 177 DLT 198
  • Section 3, Child labour in domestic work under Child Labour (Prohibitions & Regulation) Act, 1986
  • Ibid., Section 7
  • Ibid., Section 8
  • http://in.one.un.org
  • Ibid.
  • Ibid.
  • Babu P. Ramesh, Shifting Trajectories: Work Organisation, Labour Relations and Mobilisation in Contemporary India, (V.V Giri National Labour Institute, Noida, 2008), p.84
  • Nalini Nayak, “Organizing the Unorganized Workers: Lessons from SEWA Experiences” 48 (3) Indian Journal of Industrial Relations 402-414 (2013)

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  • Domestic Workers in India:Need for A Comprehensive Law

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Authors

K. R. Reghunathan
M.G University, Kottayam, Ernakulam, India

Abstract


In India, exploitation of domestic workers is rampant. Such incidents involving women and children are regularly reported. With no rights, most of them have become contemporary slaves. Many of them are trafficked and exploited by the placement agencies, which operate without any form of State regulations. In the last few decades there has been a tremendous growth in the demand for domestic workers. To meet this demand there has been a spurt of thousands of placement agencies providing domestic workers. The feeble master-servant relationship leads to low wages, sexual abuse, cruelty and ill-treatment of domestic workers. Employment of children as domestic workers is another serious issue. Individuals belonging to the lower strata of the society are forced to domestic work on account of their financial backwardness. The governing authority has always turned blind eye towards the welfare of this unorganised sector. The stray incidents of judicial intervention are the only ray of hope. A comprehensive legislation is the need of the hour.

Keywords


Domestic Worker, Social Security, Minimum Wage, Sexual Harassment, State Insurance, Unorganised Workers.

References