Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu must check corruption in e-pass system: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court.

The Madras High Court.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Madras High Court on Friday impressed upon the need for the State government to “seriously” look into scores of complaints regarding government officials making illegal money, even during a grave situation posed by the pandemic, by collecting bribe for issuing e-passes for travelling from one district to another.

Justices N. Kirubakaran and V.M. Velumani said: “For the past few months, people have been unable to do their work or travel from one place to another for various purposes and they have been put to untold misery. Though the government is not responsible for the present position, some corrupt officials involved in issuing e-passes are bent upon making a booty.”

 

“It is very shocking to know about such incidents and also about cut-throat corrupt officials in the system. They are like cruel blood thirsty wolves and they should be dealt with an iron hand. Throughout the State, there are allegations that there are brokers available for getting e-passes, and the rate ranges between ₹500 and ₹2,000,” the judges noted.

The observations were made while passing orders on a habeas corpus petition filed by C.M. Sivababu, president of the Tamil Desiya Makkal Katchi, to produce six adolescent boys and girls who were reportedly detained against their wishes in a private spinning mill in Tiruppur. Taking serious note, the court had directed the police to act.

Accordingly, the Superintendent of Police reported to the court that a raid conducted in the mill on Thursday did not lead to employment of child labour. However, it was found that the mill had employed 331 people, of whom 133 were aged between 14 and 18, brought from various districts, and that most of them were from Tiruvannamalai.

The chairperson of the Tiruppur district welfare board told the court that only on July 28, the Labour Department officials had conducted a raid and found 95 workers, including 42 adolescents and two children. Since many adolescent workers complained about low wages, they were rescued and sent back to their native districts.

The court was also told that the mill had been permitted to employ only 250 persons, whereas 331 were found to be working during the police raid on Thursday. When the judges interacted with some of the adolescent children through videoconferencing on Friday, they did not complain about working conditions but appeared to have been tutored.

Though they claimed that the mill management was also educating them, the judges wondered how that would be possible when the modus operandi of the mill appeared to be to target young boys and girls and engage them for employment. The senior judge in the Bench also expressed surprise over the children having been transported from Tiruvannamalai to Tiruppur.

“This is a classic case demonstrating how corrupt government servants utilise any situation to make illegal gain,” the judges said, and directed the mill management to explain, by August 20, how it managed to transport so many people from one district to another during the pandemic.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 5:50:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/take-serious-note-of-complaints-regarding-corruption-in-issuance-of-e-passes-hc-tells-tn-govt/article32300262.ece

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