Right Against Exploitation – Article 23 and Article 24 of Indian Constitution

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Right Against Exploitation protects all citizens’ human dignity and liberty by safeguarding them against Exploitation. Articles 23 and 24 of the Indian Constitution provide the right to exploitation in the Indian Constitution. Examples of exploitation that are forbidden include beggarism, slavery, child labour, bonded labour, and other kinds of compelled labour.

According to this Right Against Exploitation Article, the exploitation of the weaker sections by the stronger in slavery, forced labour, child labour, etc., is a punishable offense. The laws passed by the Parliament in pursuance of Article 23 to 24 prohibits any action taken against the freedom and dignity of an individual. This article will highlight facts about the Right Against Exploitation, laws related to it, recent issues, and exceptions under Articles 23 and 24.

Right Against Exploitation

Exploitation is the deprivation of an individual’s due through fraud or force. Articles 23 and 24 of the Indian Constitution have a provision for the right against Exploitation. Indian Constitution has granted Fundamental Rights to every citizen. However, certain activities like forced labour, slavery, human trafficking, etc., threaten the fundamental rights of an individual. Trafficking of humans involves dealing, like selling, letting, or dispose of goods of men and women.

Right Against Exploitation PDF

In India, many people are forced to offer services without getting paid or at cheap rates. According to the Global Slavery Index stats, 18.3 million Indian people were subjected to modern slavery. The 2018 stats suggest that the number of victims of modern slavery increased after the addition of child labour and forced prostitution. To prevent this, the Constitution contains the Right Against Exploitation Articles 23 and 24.

Right Against Exploitation Article 23 and 24

Article 23 of the Indian Constitution deals with the prohibition of human trafficking and forced labour. Article 23(1) prohibits human trafficking, beggar, and forced labour. The violation of Article 23(1) is a punishable offense.

Article 23(2) of Constitution, the State has the right to impose compulsory services for public purposes, and no factor can prevent it from setting these necessary services. Also, no discrimination should be based on class, caste, race, or religion. Article 24 of Indian Constitution prohibits the employment of children in factories or hazardous jobs.

Right Against Exploitation

Article 23 of Indian Constitution

According to Article 23, exploitation is considered the misuse of an individual’s service/labour by force or without payment. Even if the labourer is getting paid, one cannot force an individual to engage in employment. Article 23 prohibits any kind of exploitation.

  • Article 23 (1): Prohibition of human trafficking, beggar, and forced labour. Violation of this provision leads to penalties under the law.
  • Article 23 (2) – The state shall set mandatory service for public objectives without any discrimination based on race, religion, caste, or class.

Article 23 safeguards the State and even private citizens. Forcing landless individuals into labour and pushing vulnerable women into prostitution is unconstitutional. The State is required to shield citizens from this immorality by taking disciplinary action against perpetrators of these acts, and also bring favourable actions to nullify these evils from society.

According to Article 35 of the Indian Constitution, the Parliament of India has the authority to enact specific laws to punish the prohibition of Article 23 and protect Rights Against Exploitation. There were many marginalized societies in India that were propelled to get employed as manual and farming labour without any payment. Article 23 describes the following activities as unconstitutional.

Right to Exploitation Against Description
Beggar India has witnessed many marginalized communities forced to engage in agricultural and manual work without getting paid
Forced labour According to the Right Against Exploitation, forced labour is an individual paid less than the minimum wage
Bonded labour If an individual is compelled to provide services out of a loan/debt that cannot be compensated
Trafficking It involves the trading of men and women for unfair and corrupt activities

Laws Related to Right Against Exploitation (Article 23)

Some laws enacted by the Parliament in pursuance of Article 23: Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, and Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956. Indian Parliament has passed these two laws in pursuance of Article 23 of the Constitution of India for the protection of the Right to Exploitation.

Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956

Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 protects women and young girls from forced prostitution. According to this act, if a person having charge or custody of a young girl or woman aids her in forced prostitution, he shall be subjected to harsh punishment.

According to the Constitution and in the spirit of Right Against Exploitation Article 23 and 24, any prohibitor of the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956, shall be imprisoned for 1 year to 3 years and has to pay a fine. If a person is found guilty of prohibiting the act for the second time, he can be punished for five years, along with a fixed fine.

Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976

Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976 allows for the abolition of the bonded labour system and the prevention of the physical and economic exploitation of the weaker section of the individual. On the commencement of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, the bonded labour system shall be abolished, and all the bonded labourers stand free.

Recent Issues of Article 23

Considering the situation of the recent COVID-19 Pandemic scenario, reversal migration of employees was observed. As per various illustrations, the rights of the workers were encroached upon by the employers and the States also failed to save them.

Article 23 of Indian Constitution forbids forced labour. In PUDR v. Union of India (1982), the Supreme Court held that the word ‘force’ must be incorporated in the kind of compulsion emerging from the critical economic crisis.

  • In the case of Covid-19, an individual had no option and was forced to work on a very minimal salary, even lower than minimum wage.
  • Another issue was the breach of the Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 wherein the States must secure the marginalized group’s right to free selection of profession while healing after a tragedy.

Article 24 of Indian Constitution

According to Article 24 of Constitution of India, a child below the age of 14 years shall not be employed to any work in a mine, industry, or other occupation harmful to the child’s health. However, it allows the employment of a child in non-hazardous work.

Articles 39 (e) and 39 (f) state that the State is responsible for ensuring that the child shall not be forced to work in an industry that is not suitable (or unhealthy or dangerous) to his age and strength.

Laws Related to Article 24 Right Against Exploitation

To protect the child’s right against exploitation by his involvement in any hazardous work, the Indian government has developed specific laws against the State and individuals. The laws passed in pursuance of Article 24 of the Indian Constitution are as follows.

The Factories Act, 1948

  • After independence, the first act passed by the Indian government to limit the minimum age for a child’s employment in a factory was The Factories Act of 1948.
  • According to the Factories Act, the minimum age for a child to get employment was 14 years.
  • Later, in 1954, there was an amendment in the act according to which the minimum age for an individual to work at night should not be less than 17 years.

The Mines Act of 1952

  • The Mines Act of 1952 was introduced to restrict the age of an individual working at a mine.
  • It is an act for the amendment and consolidation of the laws regarding labour and safety regulation in mines.
  • As per the Mines Act of 1952, the minimum age for an individual employed in mines is 18 years.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986

  • The Child Labour Act marked India’s abolishment of child labour under the Right Against Exploitation.
  • It is provisioned for describing the appropriate place and occupations for child employment.
  • According to the act, a child can be defined as any individual below the age of 14 years.
  • It states that the employment of children below the age of 14 should be prohibited in 57 processes and 13 different occupations.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016

  • According to this act, the minimum age for child employment remains 14 years.
  • However, it added that children between the ages of 14 and 18 should not be allowed employment in hazardous occupations.
  • This act grants permission to a child to get employment in specific sectors and allows them to get employed as an artist.
  • The Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016 violators were subjected to harsh punishments.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017

  • Though the Indian government came up with particular acts, it feels necessary to form strict rules with a framework for adolescent workers and child prevention, prohibition, rescue, and rehabilitation.
  • The issues regarding the child’s employment in the family enterprises were cleared after the formation of such laws.
  • These rules also specified the working hours and conditions for a self-employed artist.

Steps to Control Child Labour

The following recommendations were given by the Supreme Court for the eradication of child labour during the MC Mehta vs State of Tamil Nadu. A survey must be conducted to identify child labour in various regions.

A method should be available to remove children who are working in unsafe industries and assuring that they get enrolled in schools to obtain elementary education.

  • The unfulfilled family must acquire monetary assistance until the child is in school from the interest that arrives from that 20,000 or 25,000 deposit.
  • A criminal employer must receive Rs. 20,000 in the children’s interest fund.
  • At least one adult member of the household must get employment. If this is not feasible, the State must offer Rs. 5000 to the recovered child in the children’s welfare fund.
  • Children employed in non-hazardous work conditions should not work greater than 6 hours and employers must assure that the children receive education for a minimum of 2 hours per day.
  • Employers hiring children of young age must bear the entire financial responsibility for the youth’s education.

Exceptions Under Article 23 and 24

There are some exceptions made by the Indian Constitution regarding the two provisions as in some cases compulsion of work may emerge.

Exceptions under Article 23: An important exception is under Article 23 (2), wherein the State can set mandatory public services in justifiable cases. The State is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of caste, religion, etc. Thus, it would stop the State from imposing obligatory recruitment for social and military services.

Exceptions under Article 24: This provision is considered to be absolute and it has been fixed that there would be no exception under this article. Hence, as per law, children below 14 years of age are not entitled to work in hazardous work conditions. Supreme court has ordered to take positive measures to improve the quality of life of the upcoming youth.

Short Note on Right Against Exploitation

To facilitate personal freedom and provide safety against discrimination, our Constitution enacted Articles 23 and 24 to take action on the exploitation of weaker sections of the community. Though Article 23 prohibits human trafficking, beggar, and forced labour, Article 24 focuses more on curbing child labour.

A dignified provision is the prohibition of exploitation in our Indian Constitution. With the advancing years and dynamic situations including changing nature of work, the rights of the workers should be protected and revised accordingly.

Right Against Exploitation UPSC

Right Against Exploitation is provided under Articles 23 and 24 of the Indian Constitution. According to these articles, slavery, beggarism, child labour, bonded labour, and other forms of forced labour are instances of exploitation and they are forbidden. The topic Right Against Exploitation (Articles 23 and 24) is an important section of the IAS Exam and comes under the UPSC Polity syllabus.

Aspirants are advised to practice Right Against Exploitation UPSC questions that were previously asked in the examination and refer to Polity Books for UPSC to strengthen their base and obtain in-depth knowledge about the topic.

Right Against Exploitation MCQs

Question: Consider the statements: (1) Article 24 of the constitution of India provides some exceptions regarding child labour provisions if it is to be aimed at compulsory public service for all the citizens of India, (2) Parliament can not lower the child labour minimum age of 14 years, without the amendment made in the constitution. Which of the statements is/are correct? – (a) Both 1 and 2, (b) 1 only, (c) 2 only, (d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: Both 1 and 2

Question: Which are envisaged by the Right against Exploitation in the Constitution of India? (1) Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour, (2) Protection of the interests of minorities, (3) Abolition of untouchability, (4) Prohibition of employment of children in factories and mines. Select the correct answer: (a) 1, 2, 3 and 4, (b) 1, 2 and 4 only, (c) 2, 3 and 4 only, (d) 1 and 4 only
Answer: 1 and 4 only (Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour, Prohibition of employment of children in factories and mines)

Question: Right against exploitation guaranteed by the Constitution prohibits which of the following activities? (a) Exploitation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, (b) B
Forced displacement due to development activities, (c) Trafficking in human beings and forced labour, (d) Exploitation of minorities
Answer: Trafficking in human beings and forced labour.

UPSC Notes
Article 21 Article 164
Important Articles Article 28
Article 311 Article 370
Finance Bill and Article 117 Article 25 To 28
Article 356 Article 12
All Articles Article 371
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