Labour Law are the regulations that outline rights and liabilities in the workplace of the employees and the employers. Labour law violation are serious offences and can lend Organisation in quite a bit of trouble. Violation of international labour standards and a violation of labour laws is a common occurrence around the world. Various laws are designed for the country’s workforce to ensure fair treatment, equitable compensation and safe working condition. Labour law compliance in India should be followed strictly by employers because employees maybe find themselves being mistreated or exploited at the workplace.

•According to Abraham Lincon’s First Annual Message to Congress , December 3,1861-” Labour is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is the only fruit of labour and could never have existed if labour had not first existed.  Labour is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration”.

•According to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar-” Everyone from the labouring classes should be acquainted with Rousseau’s social contract, Marx’s Communist manifesto, Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, On the conditions of labour And John Stuarts Mill on Liberty”.

Labour law in India is also known as Industrial law and Employment law.  It is the body of laws administrative ruling and Precedent which address the legal rights off and the restrictions on working people and their organisation. Labour law includes various aspects of relationships between trade union, employer-employee relationship, rights and obligation of the workers, right and obligation of the union members rights and obligation of the employers.

Evolution of labour laws in India can be traced in the period of British colonialism in India. Evolution of industrial relations in India can be highlighted through an establishment of ILO [International Labour Organisation]. 

After independence, labour policy in India started its March towards self-reliance on the part of the workers. This approach to the labour policy has developed a new approach known as tripartism. The labour policy has proceeded on a realisation that the community, as whole as well as individual employers, is under an obligation to protect the welfare of workers and to secure to them their due share in the gains of economic developments.

The main postulates of the Labour policy may be summed up as follows- Adequate enforcement of legislation, Tripartie constitution, enhancing the status of the workers, cooperation for augmenting production and increasing productivity, ensuring fair wages and standards, and provision of Social Security, Primacy to maintenance of industrial peace, Recognition of the rights of a worker to peaceful direct action of the Justices denied to them etc.

Major labour problems are commonly interlinked with poverty, social status and lack of awareness about the rights. Major labour problems are can be summarised as:- poverty, [which results in turn exploitation]; inferior/ subordinate social status of the workers to the employers; lack of awareness about rights; lack of education, unemployment [due to which workers become helpless to accept unjustified work condition in order to fulfil their rights to livelihood]; lack of resources [due to which workers become slowly dependent on wages to fulfil their rights to livelihood and can’t raise voice against employer] etc.

 Labour law violation means a violation of a labour law that resulted in an administrative merits determination, arbitral, award or decision or civil judgement. Various labour legislations in India have been enacted mainly for the purpose of labour welfare, Social Security and industrial relation. These legislations are enacted in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution of India, matters related to labour laws are covered in list III [I.e. Concurrent list] of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India. The various labour legislations enacted by the central government are uniform all over India. Article- 246 of our Constitution indicate bifurcation of powers to make laws, between Union government and State governments. Article 12 to 35 of the Constitution of India pertain to fundamental rights of the people. The Indian Constitution guarantee’s essential human rights in the form of fundamental rights under Part III.  The need for protecting and safeguarding the interests of labour as human being has been enshrined in Article 14,16, 19 ,21 ,23 and 24 giving idea of the conditions under which labour had to be for work. Article 39- provides about equal pay for equal work.

Categories of labour legislations classified into following: –

>Social Security legislations: Which mainly includes Employees State Insurance Act 1948, Employee Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provision Act 1952, Maternity Benefit Act 1961, and Payment of Gratitude Act 1972.

>Legislations relating to industrial relations: Which include Trade Union Act 1926, The Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Act 1946, Industrial Disputes Act 1947.

>Laws Relating to Wages: Payment of Wages Act 1936, Minimum Wages Act 1948, Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

>Legislations (Laws) relating to equality and Employment of women: which includes mainly Equal Remuneration Act 1976, The Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act 2013, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.

>Prohibitive labour legislations: Includes Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986.

>Legislation relating to labour welfare: It mainly includes Factories Act 1948, Payment of Bonus Act 1965, Employees compensation Act 1923, Person with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Right and full participation) Act 1995, Equal Remuneration Act 1976.

The labour legislations enacted by the Parliament of India are implemented all over India. The labour legislations enacted by the state legislatures are applicable to the respective states.

Four labour codes are enacted in the year 2019 and 2020. These codes consolidated 29 labour legislations of India. FOUR Labour code as follows->>>The code on wages ,2019; The Industrial Relations Code, 2020; The Code on Social Security, 2020; The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Condition Code, 2020.

Some landmark case laws on labour issues are covered as follows.

Air India versus Nargesh Meerza AIR1981, SC 1829- In which Regulations 46 and 47 of Indian Airlines Regulations was in question which provide that an air Hostess will retire from the service upon attaining the age of 35 years or on marriage within four years of service or on first pregnancy. Whoever found earlier but the managing director had the discretion that he may extend the age of retirement one year at a time beyond the age of retirement up to age of 45 years at his option, if an air Hostess was found medically fit. The retirement of air Hostess on the ground of pregnancy was unreasonable and arbitrary and it was violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

D.S. Nakara versus Union of India, AIR, 1983 SC130- The Honourable Supreme Court held Rule 34 of the Central Service Pension Rule 1972 as unconstitutional and was struck down on the ground that the classification made by it between pensioners retiring before a certain date and retiring after that date was not dependent upon any rational principle and it is arbitrary and violated of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

In Daily Rated Casual Labour versus Union of India, AIR 1987, SC 2342- It has been held that “The daily rated casual labours in P and T department who were doing similar work as done by the regular workers of the department entitled to minimum pay in the pay scale of the regular workers plus D.A.  but without increments.

Mewa Ram Kanojia Versus All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) and Others (2003)1 SCC 250- The court observed “the doctrine of equal pay for equal work “is applicable when employees holding the same rank perform similar functions and discharge similar duties and responsibilities are treated differently.

In Vishakha and others Versus State of Rajasthan, AIR 1997, SC 3011- the Honourable Supreme Court observed that, sexual harassment result in violation of fundamental rights of ‘Gender Equality’ and the Right of life and liberty.

In Sanjit Roy versus State of Rajasthan, 1983 (2) SCR 271- It was held that when a person provides labour or service to another for remuneration which is less than the prescribed minimum wages, the labour so provided within ambit of the words ‘forced labour’.

M.C. Mehta versus State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1997 SC 699- The Honourable Supreme Court directed that the employers of children below 14 years must comply with the provision of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, providing for compensation, employment of their parent’s/ guardians and their education.

In Ministry of Defence versus Babita Puniya, (2020)7 SCC 469- the Honourable Supreme Court held that women are entitled to claim for permanent commissions (PCs) in armed forces on the basis of gender equality and equality of opportunities enshrined under Article 16(1) of the Indian Constitution.

In a nutshell, prevention is a key to avoiding violation of a labour law in the first place. Rights of workers must be protected, and their dignity must be maintained. Violation against workers should not be followed anywhere. Evolution of labour laws in India has resulted into an enactment of various labour legislations and labour codes. Industrial relation plays crucial role in resolving labour problems, maintenance of industrial democracy and industrial peace. The provision which are incorporated in preamble, part III and IV of the Indian Constitution are valuable and significant for the protection of the rights of the labours and for their welfare.

AUTHOR: – ANJANA ARYA, Saint Wilfred’s Law College .

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