Right against Exploitation
23. Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour.—(1) Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
(2) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from imposing compulsory service for public purposes, and in imposing such service the State shall not make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste or class or any of them.
Article 23 imposes a complete ban on traffic in human beings, federal and other similar forms of forced labour. The contravention of these provisions is declared punishable by law. Thus the traditional system of beggary particularly in villages, becomes unconstitutional and a person who is asked to do any labour without payment or even a labourer with payment against his desire can complain against the violation of his fundamental right under Article 23.
‘Traffic’ in human beings means to deal in men and women like goods, such as to sell or let or otherwise dispose them of. ‘Begar’ means involuntary work without payment.
The State can impose compulsory service for public purposes such as conscription for defence for social service etc. While imposing such compulsory service the State cannot make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste or class or any of them. (Clause 2 of Article 23).