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No law to protect domestic helps.

DESPITE a constant rise in the cases of domestic help abuse and the consequent furore in the civil society, as of now there is no legislation or established legal framework to protect those working in the unorganised sector of domestic help across the country.

There have been tepid attempts both by the Central and the Delhi governments to rein in placement agencies and establish rights for domestic workers, but nothing concrete has come of it yet. While there is a blanket ban on employing children below 14 years of age in hazardous sectors, which includes domestic work, there is no law protecting the rights of adult domestic helps.

In 2010, the National Commission for Women ( NCW) had submitted a draft Bill titled the Domestic Workers Welfare and Social Security Act, 2010 addressing the working conditions of domestic workers. It is yet to be passed.

On August 4, 2011, the Delhi government gave its nod to the Delhi Placement Agencies ( Regulation) Bill but it is yet to be passed despite a high court order that it be ratified soon.

" The Bill concentrates more on protecting the residents from cases like thefts by domestic helps. Penalising the employer if the workers' rights are violated has never been the priority for the State," said senior lawyer and chairperson of NGO Shakti Vahini, Rishi Kant.

With no law in place to seek redressal, experts say it is essential that the government recognises domestic work as an organised profession and fix rights and privileges for those employed in the sector.

Echoing the need for a legislation, senior advocate Pinky Anand said, " The domestic helps, especially minors, are often also abused by the traffickers and agents. The issue can be solved only through a specific central legislation."

Despite frequent cases of abuse, there is no specific legislation to protect the people working in the unorganised sector

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Nov 6, 2013
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