Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs. Union of India & Ors.

Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs. Union of India & Ors.
AIR 1984 SCC 802
Bandhua Mukti Morcha
Union of India & Ors.
Date of Judgement
16 December, 1983
Hon’ble Justice N. Bhagwati; Hon’ble Justice S. Pathak; Hon’ble Justice Amarnath Sen


As a result of a public interest litigation filed in the Apex Court, the State of Uttar Pradesh was directed by the Supreme Court to abolish the use of child labor in the carpet industry and to make certain policies or directives for benefit of children so that they can have access to education and get certain health facilities.[i]

Statues and provisions of law involved–

Bonded labor systems Act, 1976

Mines Rules, 1955

Mines Vocational Training Rules, 1966

Maternity Benefits Act, 1961

Article 32 of the Constitution of India

Brief facts–

The petitioner, an association committed to the reason of the arrival of reinforced workers in the nation, tended to a letter to Hon’ble Bhagwati, J. asserting:

(1) that there were a large number of workers from various parts of the nation who were working in some of the stone quarries arrange in area Faridabad, the State of Haryana under “brutal and insufferable conditions;

(2) that a large number of them were reinforced workers;

(3) that the arrangements of the Constitution and different social welfare laws went to help the said laborers were definitely not being actualized with respect to these laborers.

The candidate also referenced in the letter the names of the stone quarries and points of interest of workers who were functioning as fortified workers and implored that a writ is given for legitimate usage of the different provisions of the social welfare enactment, for example, Mines Act, 1952 Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Minimum Wages Act, Workmen’s Compensation Act, Payment of Wages Act, Employees State Protection Act, Maternity Benefits Act and so forth material to these laborers working in the said stone quarries to finish the wretchedness, suffering and defenselessness of these casualties of the cruelest abuse. The Court treated the letter as a writ petition and designated a commission to ask into the charges made by the petitioner.

Issues Involved–

  • Regardless of whether Article 32 of the Constitution is pulled in to the moment case as no major right of the candidates or the laborers alluded to in the request are encroached.
  • Can a letter tended to with this Court be treated as a writ appeal and without any checked request this Court can be moved to practice its writ locale?
  • During a procedure under Article 32 of the Constitution, would this be able to Court be engaged to select any commission or an exploring body to enquire into the claims made and makes a report to this Court based on the inquiry to empower this Court to practice its capacity and locale under Article 32 of the Constitution?

Arguments Advanced:

Petitioner’s contention –

  • The entire environment in the supposed stone quarries was loaded with residue and it was difficult for anyone to inhale;
  • A portion of the laborers was not permitted to leave the stone quarries and was giving constrained work; 
  • There was no facility of giving unadulterated water to drink and the workers were constrained to drink messy water from a nullah;
  • The workers were not having a legitimate safe house in any case, they were living in jhuggies with stones heaped one upon the different as dividers and straw covering the top which was excessively low to stand and which didn’t manage the cost of any assurance against the sun
  • Also, downpour; a portion of the workers were suffering from constant illnesses; (vi) no pay was being paid to workers who were harmed because of mishaps emerging in the course of work;
  • There were no offices for medicinal treatment or tutoring.

Respondent’s contention –

The respondents contended:

  • Article 32 of the Constitution is not attracted to the instant case as no the central right of the petitioner or the laborers alluded to in the appeal is encroached;
  • A letter tended to by a gathering to this Court can’t be treated as a writ appeal;
  • In a procedure under Article 32, this Court is not enabled to designate any commission or an exploring body to enquire into the claims made in the writ appeal;
  • Reports made by such commissions are in view of on ex-parte explanations which have not been tried by interrogation and hence they have no evidentiary worth; and
  • There may be constrained workers in the stone quarries and stone smashers in the State of Haryana however they were not fortified workers inside the importance of that articulation as utilized in the Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1976. 


In its judgment, the Court talked about the significance of securing children’s privileges or rights to education, security, health and improvement of India as a democratic country. While perceiving that child’s work couldn’t be nullified quickly because of monetary need, the Court found that down to earth steps could be taken to secure and advance the rights of youth in the destitution stricken and powerless populaces of Indian culture. On the side of its decision, the Court alluded to different basic rights and order standards of the Indian Constitution including, Article 21 (the right to life and individual freedom), Article 24 (denies work of children younger than 14 in plants, mines, or different dangerous ventures), Article 39 (e) (disallows constraining residents into employments unsuited for their age or quality), Article 39(f) (depicts the State’s obligations to shield youngsters from abuse and to guarantee kids the chances and offices to create in a sound way), and Article 45 (commands the State to give free obligatory training to all children beneath 14 years). The Court additionally noticed India’s commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to give free essential education to all kids in the nation, and to secure children against financial abuse. The measures requested to nullify child labor work set out in a prior case, M.C. Mehta v. Province of Tamil Nadu and Ors.[ii] was referenced by the Court and fused in requests to the States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The requests included guiding the States to find a way to outline arrangements to logically dispose of the labor of children beneath the age of 14; give obligatory instruction to all youngsters utilized in processing plants, mining, and different enterprises; guarantee that the children get supplement rich nourishments; and regulate occasional health registration.

Obiter dicta–

Not necessarily the aggrieved party always files a petition but also any person with a bonafide intention file a case in order to protect the rights of others and when it comes to the public interest or for the welfare of the common people a mere letter can also be treated as a writ petition.

Rationale behind the judgment

The State Government’s protest with regards to the viability of the writ request under Article 32 of the Constitution by the solicitors is indefensible. On the off chance that any of the resident brings under the steady gaze of the Court an objection that countless laborers or laborers are reinforced serfs or are being oppressed to exploitation by a couple of mine renters or temporary workers or managers or are being precluded the advantages from claiming social welfare laws, the State Government, which is, under our protected plan, accused of the strategic achieving another financial request where there will be social and monetary equity for everybody correspondence of status and open door for all, would respect a request by the court, so that in the event that it is discovered that there are in truth fortified workers or regardless of whether the laborers are not reinforced in the severe feeling of the term as characterized in the Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act 1976 yet they are made to give forced labor or are relegated to an existence of absolute hardship and corruption, such a circumstance can be fixed by the State Government. Regardless of whether the State Government is on its own inquiry fulfilled that the laborers are not reinforced and are not constrained to give constrained work and are living and working in better than average conditions with all the essential necessities of life gave to them, the State Government ought not to shy away from a request by the court when a protest is brought by a resident, yet it ought to be on edge to fulfill the court and through the court, the individuals of the nation, that it is releasing its established commitment decently and enough and the laborers are being guaranteed social and financial equity.[iii]


This case alongside other PIL cases on the issue of child labor and scope of child labor destruction battles, has been fruitful in bringing issues to light about the issue of child labor and putting the issue conspicuously on the administration’s plan. Policymaking and law are moving toward formal annulment of child labor and various activities, particularly in the region of education, are being attempted towards annihilating gruesome child labor. One impact has been that the involvement of child laborers in the carpet industry has been diminished. Be that as it may, a huge number of children despite everything keep on being abused in India and there is a dire requirement for more grounded and increasingly compelling insurances for child rights.

Edited by Parul Soni

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[i] Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India & Others AIR 1984 SCC 802.

[ii] M.C. Mehta v. Province of Tamil Nadu and Ors. (1996) 6 SCC 756.

[iii] Supra note 1.

Adya Samal
I’m Adya Aditi Samal, pursuing B.A. LL.B in Xavier Law School. I’m a self-motivated law student who believes in the idea that “there is always someone better than you”, and this makes me keep going. I love to learn new things because I feel learning refine you, redefines you. I’ve been an ardent admirer of world history, psychology and mythology all through my life. Finally, my heart found solace when I fell in love with criminal law and human rights law. The intrinsically intimate thread between society and law mesmerizes me every time. In my leisure, I write poems and short stories in Odia. And finally; I don’t eat to live but rather live to eat.