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The right against exploitation allows Indian citizens to stand up against any kind of exploitation that he/ she might be going through. This fundamental right is described in the constitution as:
Article 23. Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour.- (1) Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
(2) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from imposing compulsory service for public purposes, and in imposing such service the State shall not make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste or class or any of them.
Article 24. Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.- No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment The right against exploitation, given in Articles 23 and 24, provides for two provisions, namely the abolition of trafficking in human beings and Begar (forced labor), and abolition of employment of children below the age of 14 years in dangerous jobs like factories and mines. Child labour is considered a gross violation of the spirit and provisions of the constitution.
Begar, practised in the past by landlords, has been declared a crime and is punishable by law. Trafficking in humans for the purpose of slave trade or prostitution is also prohibited by law. An exception is made in employment without payment for compulsory services for public purposes. Compulsory military conscription is covered by this provision. Article 23: Right against Exploitation
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS as per Indian Constitution
Article 23: Right against Exploitation
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Articles 23 and 24 deal with the right against exploitation. Article 23 which prohibits traffic in human beings and beggar and similar forms of forced labour is comparable to the Thirteenth Amendment of the American Constitution abolishing slavery or involuntary servitude. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution there was hardly anything like slavery or the widespread practice of forced labour in any part of India. The National Freedom movement, since the twenties of this century, had been a rallying force against such practices. However, there were many areas of the country where the “untouchables” were being exploited in several ways by the higher castes and richer classes. For example, in parts of Rajasthan in Western India, which was in pre-Independence days a cluster of Princely States, there existed a practice under which labourers who worked for a particular landlord could not leave him to seek employment elsewhere without his permission.
Very often this restriction was so severe and the labourer’s dependence on the “master” was so absolute that he was just a slave in reality. The local laws had supported such practices. Evils like the Devadasi system under which women were dedicated in the name of religion, to Hindu deities, idols, objects of worship, temples and other religious institutions, and under which, instead of living a life of dedication, self-renunciation and piety, they were the life-long victims of lust and immorality, had been prevalent in certain parts of southern and western India. Vestiges of such evil customs and practices were still there in many parts of the country. The Constitution-makers were eager to proclaim a war against them through the Constitution as these practices would have no place in the new political and social concept that was emerging with the advent of independence.
The ideal of “one man, one vote, one value”, equality before law and equal protection of laws, freedom of profession and the right to move freely throughout the country all these would have no meaning if “one man” was subjugated by “another man” and one’s life was at the mercy of another. Although any form of forced labour is an offence punishable under law just as untouchability is an offence, this constitutional guarantee is only against private individuals and organisations.
An important exception is made in favour of the State which may impose compulsory service for public purposes. Compulsory military service or compulsory work for nation-building programmes may provide examples of such service. The State may for instance, pass a law by which it may compel every university graduate to spend six months in villages immediately after leaving the university, on literacy work or other social service among the village people. Such a law, however, should not make any discrimination on grounds of religion, caste or class, or any of them.