Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
In addition, it should be possible, where adequate cause is shown, to secure the repatriation of a labourer before the three years have expired. Under the present Act, the District Magistrate can repatriate at the employer's expense any persons who have been wrongfully recruited or who are physically incapacitated from earning a livelihood. We would transfer this power to the Protector of Immigrants. At the same time we would enlarge somewhat the grounds on which repatriation can be ordered on the lines of the general conditions governing repatriation in Ceylon and Malaya. Thus the Protector should be able to order repatriation of any worker within one year of his arrival in Assam, if this is necessary on the ground of health, the unsuitability of the work to his capacity, unjust treatment by the employer, or for other sufficient reason. The employer should, of course, have an opportunity of presenting his case before an order is passed.
This type of repatriation would be the exception and is designed partly to secure the return of the " misfit " or unsuitable recruit. A number of employers already return such labourers of their own accord, and most planters have shown a readiness to repatriate workers when official suggestions were made to this effect. During the depressions in the tea industry and noticeably in 1920-21, it has not always been possible for all employers to provide an adequate amount of work to enable the worker to maintain his accustomed standard of living. Where an immigrant entitled to repatriation at the end of three years makes a claim that he is unable, with due diligence, to secure a normal wage or where the Protector discovers that this is the case and that the worker desires to be repatriated before the three years expire, he should have the power, after proper investigation and the establishment of the facts, to order repatriation at the expense, of the employer. A worker dismissed at any time before the three years expire should be entitled, if he so desires, to be repatriated at the expense of the employer dismissing him, unless it is established that the dismissal was due to wilful misconduct. Finally, we recommend that in the case of physical violence by an employer or his agent, in addition to any other penalty which may be provided by law, the magistrate, should be empowered to order the repatriation of the worker at the expense of the employer. In making this last recommendation, we do not desire to suggest that there is any widespread resort to physical coercion. We believe that the great majority of planters deplore, as we do, the use of such methods and recognise that even rare cases can do much to injure the whole industry. Unfortunately, a few connive at them or take insufficient pains to prevent their adoption by sardars and others. The presence of the Protector of Immigrants and the grant to him of the powers suggested should assist in protecting both workers and the industry against injury.