Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976
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Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976

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Last Updated On: 11/02/2014  

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ACT NO. 19 OF 1976  
[9th February, 1976.]

An Act  to provide  for the  abolition of  bonded labour system with a view to   preventing  the economic  and physical  exploitation of  the weaker sections  of the  people and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

BE it  enacted by  Parliament in  the Twenty-seventh  Year of the Republic of India as follows:-


1. Short  title, extent  and commencement.- 
(1) This  Act may  be called the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.
    (2) It extends to the whole of India.
      (3) It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 25th day of October,1975.

2.  Definitions.- In  this  Act,  unless  the  context  otherwise requires,--

(a) "advance"  means an advance, whether in cash or in kind,or partly in cash or partly in kind, made by one person (hereinafter referred  to as  the creditor)  to another person (hereinafter referred to as the debtor);
(b) "agreement" means an agreement (whether written or oral,or partly written and partly    oral) between a debtor and creditor and includes an agreement providing for force labour,the existence of  which is presumed under any social custom prevailing in the concerned locality.
Explanation.--The existence  of  an  agreement  between  the debtor and  creditor is ordinarily presumed, under the social custom,in relation to the  following forms of forced labour, namely:--

Adiyamar , Baramasia , Basahya , Bethu , Bhagela , Cherumar , Garru-galu , Hali,Hari , Harwai , Holya , Jana , Jeetha , Kamiya , Khundit-Mundit , Kuthia , Lakhari , Munjhi , Mat , Munish system , Nit-Majoor , Paleru , Padiyal , Pannayilal , Sagri , Sanji , Sanjawat , Sewak , Sewakia, Seri , Vetti;

(c) "ascendant"  or "descendant",  in relation  to a  person belonging to a matriarchal  society, means  the person who corresponds  to such expression in accordance with the law of succession in force in such society;

(d) "bonded  debt" means an advance obtained, or presumed to have been  obtained, by a bonded  labourer under, or in pursuance of, the bonded labour system;

(e) "bonded  labour" means  any labour  or service  rendered under the bonded labour system;

(f) "bonded  labourer" means  a labourer who incurs, or has, or is presumed to have, incurred, a bonded debt;

(g) "bonded  labour system"  means the  system of forced, or partly forced,  labour under  which a debtor enters, or has, or is presumed to have, entered, into an agreement with the creditor to the effect that,--
  1. In consideration of an advance obtained by him or by  any of  his  lineal  ascendants  or  descendants (whether or  not  such  advance  isevidenced by any document) and in consideration of the interest, if any, due on such advance, or
  2. In  pursuance  of  any  customary  or  social obligation, or
  3. In  pursuance of  an obligation devolving on him by succession, or
  4. For  any economic  consideration received  by him or by any of his lineal ascendants or descendants,or
  5. By reason of his birth in any particular caste or community,he would:-
  • Render,by himself  or through  any member of his family, or any person dependent on him, labour or service to the creditor, or for  the benefit  of the  creditor, for  a specified  period  or  for  an  unspecified  period,  either without wages or for nominal wages, or
  • Forfeit  the freedom  of employment  or other  means of livelihood for a specified period  or  for an unspecified period, or
  • Forfeit the  right  to  move   freely  throughout the territory of India, or
  • Forfeit the right to  appropriate  or sell at market value any of his property  or product  of his  labour or the labour of a member of his family  or  any  person dependent on him, and includes the system of forced, or partly  forced, labour under  which  a  surety for  a debtor  enters, or has, or is      presumed  to  have,  entered,  into  an  agreement  with the creditor to the effect that in the event of the failure  of the  debtor  to  repay the debt, he would render the bonded labour on behalf of the debtor;
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