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Facts of the case 

The Madras High Court found the accused guilty in this case under Sections 16 and 17 of the Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1976, overturning the Trial Court's decision of acquittal. 

It was determined that there is enough proof that "Bonded Laborers" worked at the rice mill and that they weren't paid what they were owed. 

The High Court additionally found that the "Bonded Laborers" were mistreated and prevented from pursuing alternative employment through the use of force, and further decided that each worker should get compensation in the amount of 50,000rs. 

Arguments made 

Senior Attorney M.N. Rao, supported by Advocate Promila and AOR S. Thananjayan, argued on behalf of the appellant that there is no proof that the appellant forced anyone to perform any bonded labour and that the High Court just assumed that the accused was the employer and in charge of the workers. 

The impugned decision was supported by Advocate Aristotle, standing counsel for the State of Tamil Nadu, as well as by Advocate David Sundar Singh, Advocate, and AOR Gaichangpou Gangmei, who appeared on behalf of the Respondent.

Judgement 

The Supreme Court noted that the prosecution must prove that an accused pushed and compelled the victim to perform bonded labour in order to qualify under Section 16 of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. 

The bench of Justices AS Bopanna and PS Narasimha ruled that this force and compulsion must be at the request of the accused and that the prosecution must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. 


 

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