New Delhi: Upholding an order of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), a Delhi court here has asked an employer to pay a compensation of Rs 60,840 to a minor maid for making her work for eight months without wages.
“I have no hesitation in holding that the Child Welfare Committee was well within its powers to award compensation to the child victim even if it had misspelled the said term of ‘compensation' as minimum wages and thus, no illegality or infirmity can be found in or inferred from the impugned order on this score alone,” Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma said.
While dismissing the appeal of M C Pandey, a Vasant Kunj resident, the court directed him to hand over a demand draft of Rs 30,000 to the child victim on November 24, 2014.
The rest of the compensation amount will be paid in due course. Pandey had filed an appeal against the order of CWC, which directed the employer to pay Rs 60,840 by way of demand draft in favour of the minor child, who was employed as a domestic help.
CWC had also ordered registration of an FIR against him for offences under Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Pandey had contended that CWC, constituted under the JJ Act, was not a competent authority and did not have jurisdiction under Minimum Wages Act to issue directions to pay salary.
Citing a Delhi High Court verdict, the judge said, “The Child Welfare Committee has all the powers to summon the employer and also to direct him to pay wages and impose fine or direct the employer to pay compensation to a child victim, where severe injury was caused to the minor during the course of employment.”
The court also held that CWC was well within its rights and powers to facilitate the registration of FIR in the present case and “no illegality or infirmity can be pointed out on this account”.
According to the prosecution, the 12-year-old girl was allegedly employed by Pandey at his residence at Vasant Kunj as a domestic servant for a period of about eight months from February 2013 to September 2013 but no wages were paid to her.
It was alleged that the accused and his wife used to beat her up on finding faults in her work.
On a written complaint of the victim's father, an FIR was registered against Pandey under section 26 of the JJ Act (exploitation of juvenile or child employee) at the behest of CWC.