The Delhi High Court has questioned the delay on the part of the Delhi government in enacting a law to regulate the working of placement agencies in the capital despite drafting a bill nearly a year ago.
"(The) government of NCT of Delhi through the secretary of the Department of Labour shall file a current status report by March 6, 2013," a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain said.
The murky affairs of placement agencies and repeated raps from the court had forced the Delhi government to announce draft guidelines to regulate the functioning of the agencies that supply domestic helps in the city.
The delay on the part of the government was brought to the notice of the court by petitioner NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan's lawyer HS Phoolka. With prima facie evidence of a "major flesh trade", the Delhi High Court had in June 2010 ordered a CBI probe into the role of a prominent Rohini-based placement agency linked to many such agencies in Delhi and whose trail runs into several states.
According to the draft guidelines, placement agencies have to be licensed and registered under the Shops and Establishments Act. Their employment of any maid under the age of 18 years will be considered an offence under child labour laws
"The draft of the Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill, 2012, is ready and suggestions are being invited and it would be presented before the Assembly in February next year," the Delhi government had told the court on May 28 last year.