Court suggests video conferencing for bonded labour victims


Sessions court in Anekal writes to a court in Odisha

Cases against people arrested for bonded labour often fail to hold up in court as the victims go back to their hometowns, which usually are in other parts of the country. Most don’t return to the place where they had been trapped for years to pursue the case against their tormentors. However, a sessions court may have found a solution to this problem.

A sessions court of Anekal recently requested the civil court at Balangir in Odisha to arrange for a video conference for the examination of Susheel Jal, 30, Sumithra Jaal, 20, and Kumari Urmila Jaal, 7, who were rescued in Bengaluru in a case of bonded labour in 2014.

Five years ago, 11 people from three families in Odisha were trafficked to the city and forced to work as bonded labourers at a brick kiln in Anekal taluk.

In October 2014, all the eleven people, including their three children, were rescued and repatriated to their villages in Odisha. The owner of the kiln was arrested and charged under Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code and the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act of 1976.

Since it would be difficult for the victims to travel to the city to give evidence, the sessions court of Anekal wrote to the civil court in Balangir, Odisha in November this year proposing a video conference.

The International Justice Mission, an NGO which had brought the case to the attention of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) and had joined in the rescue, hailed the move. In a press release, they said that the case has the potential to set a precedent. “....victims can depose via video conferencing from their native places. It may also assist in speedy and efficient disposal of bonded labour cases. Recording survivor evidence through video conferencing is a practical solution to the obstacles faced in bonded labour cases,” read the press release.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 12:26:16 AM |

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