Skip to main content

Wrong to taking undue advantage of workers' pathetic situation during Covid-19


Resolution by the Indian Association of Lawyers asking the Government of India to to intervene and ensure annulment of changes in existing labour laws initiated by several state government:

As the entire world is passing through an unprecedented crises and the situation in India is also very serious, there is a general consensus that all sections of the population must wholeheartedly cooperate with the state agencies and abide by lawful orders, directions and guidelines issued from time to time. Discipline is the key to the success of any strategy evolved to combat the pandemic.
However, the nature and scale of the crisis essentially calls for wide ranging consultation and conscious and whole hearted participation of all sections of society, i.e., the political executive; the bureaucratic infrastructure; the huge work force serving as public servants under them, the frontline participants in the enterprise and the public at the grass roots.
A democratic set up has the great advantage of eliciting appropriate advice and consultation from different sources. The willing and voluntary participation of the civil society is a condition precedent for an effective way out of the unprecedented crisis.
However, the democratic rights of the citizens as well as the legal norms constitutionally provided in a democratic set up, can at no cost be treated as having been placed under suspension. The State can only win the trust of the citizens through insightful planning, compassionate execution and substantial welfare measures that reach the weaker and marginalized sections.
While the people are providing unquestioned support to the State and its agencies, the latter have been greatly unequal to the task. A hasty and unplanned lockdown has brought hunger, starvation and misery to various sections of the poorest countrymen.
The injustice meted out to the migrant workers must put all of us to shame. It is most unfortunate that even after the imposition of an ill-planned lockdown not much has been done to take effective corrective measures. The poor have been left out wholly unprotected.
Taking undue advantage of the pathetic situation of the working class, particularly of the migrant workers, some of the State Governments have started axing the hard won rights of the trade unions by taking undue advantage of the massive powers conferred on them by the situation and introducing very harsh, inequitable, unjust and wholly unwarranted legislation which is patently against the interest of the working class.
Most of the Labour Laws are Central legislation and were enacted after fierce battle of the workers against the British regime and the British employers. Even Industrial Disputes Act was promulgated on 11th March, 1947 i.e. months before Independence. Article 37 of the Constitution of India provides that the Directive Principles are “nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws”. The next Article 38 (2) puts a mandate that:
“The State shall, in particular, strive to minimize the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations”.
As such the deliberate act of curbing the labour laws is contrary to Constitutional goals and would obviously put the workers in a state of slavery, against which they fought in the Independence movement.
No doubt Covid-19 has created an extraordinary situation warranting extraordinary measures to deal with it. But that does not mean that Governments can suspend/abrogate/abuse laws so as to curtail the constitutionally guaranteed rights to the people.
The recent ordinance passed by the State of Uttar Pradesh, exempting application of a host of labour laws, including Minimum Wages Act, Migrant Labour Act, to industries under the pretext of kick starting the economy and to facilitating investment in the State.
The Government of Madhya Pradesh has also tampered with labour laws so as to turn labour in to slaves. Indian Association of Lawyers registers its strong protest against these undemocratic actions, which in fact will hurt the economy in the longer run due to conflicts.
The Indian Association of Lawyers expresses its deep anguish and sorrow over the gas tragedy in the Polymer factory near Vishakapattanam in Andhra Pradesh, causing death of 12 innocent citizens and health problems to hundreds of residents around the factory. Indian Association of Lawyers demands that the factory management be brought to book for flouting the safety laws and norms.
It is distressing to note the manner in which the Supreme Court of India has failed to act promptly, decisively and effectively in many Public Interest Litigation cases.
The Indian Association of Lawyers appeals to the Central government to intervene to get this anti-workers ordinance annulled. Indian Association of Lawyers further appeals to the Government of India to take urgent steps for initiating large scale welfare measures to save the poor from hunger, deprivation and malnutrition. Huge public investment is required forthwith to save the people on the one hand and to bring the economy back on the rails.
Indecision and delay in this regard has caused huge suffering to the people and damage to the economy. Appropriate steps in the right direction are required to be taken in an emergent and planned manner to save the people and the country from irreparable suffering and damage.

Signed by general secretaries Muralidhara, Prabhakar B, YS Lohit and Ajay Chalasani, and R.S.Cheema, president

Comments

TRENDING

Although sporting genius, Wasim Akram was mascot of cricket globalisation era

By Harsh Thakor*  Since Independence India and Pakistan produced a galaxy of cricketing stars that permeated cricketing artistry of legendary heights. Amongst this bunch.Wasim Akram manifested pure cricketing genius to the greatest height.I speculate how India’s fortunes would have changed had partition not taken place and Wasim playing for India. Wasim Akram explored realms untranscended in bowling wizardry, like a painter devising new art forms or a scientist experimenting. He simply re-defined the art of reverse swing, reversing the ball in and out. There were bowlers quicker, more accurate and with better records, but none equalled Wasim in an all-round package. He was more lethal with a new and old ball than any fast bowler ever. Wasim could produce balls that were surreal, with his reverse swing, defying laws of bio mechanics He was simply the epitome of versatility, possessing a repertoire of six different deliveries within an over itself, disguising deliveries in the manner of

Zakir Naik tumult, Catholic Church power abuse: will Anwar Ibrahim save Malaysia?

Anwar Ibrahim By Jay Ihsan*  Anwar Ibrahim, a hardcore reformist who took a punch to his eye in 1998 from then inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, has finally been given the mandate by Malaysians to serve as the nation's 10th prime minister. Anwar knows too well the burden of staying true to both trust and faith the people have in him requires every once of commitment and dedication. The question is will he be apologetic for his transgressions enroute to "rebuilding" Malaysia? In his overzealousness to get the job done, Anwar, 75, needs to safeguard every bit of gumption to address prickling issues plaguing the safety of the nation especially those involving communal sensitivities. For one, dare Anwar get rid of terrorist hate preacher and fugitive Zakir Naik for inciting religious unrest in Malaysia? In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, holding him responsible for promoting religious hatred and unlawful activi

Galileo-Catholic church affair: must history repeat at Malaysia’s St Francis Xavier church?

By Jay Ihsan*  Christianity is the enemy of liberation and civilization -August Bebel Christianity taught men that love is worth more than intelligence -Jacques Maritain Real Christianity can be summed up in two commands: Love God and love people. - Joyce Meyer Pious XI was too neutral to mention the gas chambers; decent people like my own family were turned into devils by crude Christianity - Lionel Blue Religious doctrines cannot escape the liberty of thoughts and expression. To each their own, so it is said. From all things nice to all things that make one cringe - religion is polarised and in this regard, Christianity has over time faced the wrath of bigotry espoused by those "bequeathed" to protect it. Take Pope Francis for example. He had a secret meeting with giant pharma Pfizer chief executive officer Albert Bourla last year while the world struggled to make sense of the word "lockdown" and suffer adverse effects of the Corona virus vaccines produced by Pfiz

Qatar World Cup has a strong Bangladesh connection: stadium construction, t-shirts

By Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan*  The FIFA World Cup fever has unquestionably cut through the minds of mass people all over the world. Stadiums in Qatar are buzzing with football fans and athletes representing their countries at the “Greatest Show on Earth". The magic of the FIFA World Cup is so enormous that even being unable to participate does not matter much to the fans who support different nations. This is one of the highest viewed events in the world, with the 2018 event viewed by about 3.6 billion people worldwide. But this crowd is not aware of the contribution of migrant workers who helped build the very stadiums where the matches are playing in. Qatar won the bid in 2010 to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, which got the oxymoron of celebration and controversy. This also created the potential for Qatar to Showcase its monumental economic achievements and unique culture on the global stage. The motto for Qatar’s bid team in 2010 was ‘Expect Amazing’ and migrant workers across th

A classic, 'Gandhi' ignores merciless cruelty unleashed on militant freedom fighters

By Harsh Thakor  The movie ‘Gandhi’ produced by Richard Attenborough, which was released 40 years ago on November 30th, 1982, was classic in it's own right. Ironical that it took an Englishman to embark upon the making of a film on this legendary figure. I can't visualize a better pictorial portrayal of Gandhi's life or an actor getting in the skin of the character an exuding the mannerisms as actor Ben Kingsley. Episodes are crafted and grafted surgically, illustrating how Gandhi wove fragmented bits into a cohesive force, to confront he British empire. Most boldly the movie unfolds how British colonialism subjugated the Indian people to barbaric cruelty. With great mastery the cinematography captures the vast Indian landscapes and essence of livelihood of Indians under colonial rule. The movie most illustratively shows the crystallisation of anti-colonial fervour from the embryonic stage and how it fermented into an integrated movement. In a most subtle manner it illustr

Implementing misleading govt order to pollute Hyderabad's 100 year old reservoirs

Senior activists* represent to the Telangana Governor on GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), Government of Telangana: ‘...restrictions imposed under para 3 of said GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996 are removed...’: *** Ref: GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996: ‘To prohibit polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of the lakes upto 10kms from full tank level as per list in Annexure-I...’ We come to your office with grievance that GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by Government of Telangana not only contains false information issued ‘By Order and in the name of the Governor of Telangana’ , without any scientific or expert reports, but also that implementation of the said GO is detrimental and can be catastrophic to the Hyderabad city as two 100 year old reservoirs Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar were constructed as dams on river Moosa and river Esa, with the first and

Film on evidence of viability of in situ communitarian urban water management

By Rahul Banerjee  Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear that centralised urban water management in India is in deep crisis. Water supply is both inadequate and extremely costly, water harvesting and recharging and used water treatment and reuse are mostly absent and storm water management is a disaster. Under the circumstances, the only viable solution is communitarian in situ water management and this is what has been proposed in the latest guidelines of both the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and the Swacch Bharat Mission. Our NGO, Mahila Jagat Lihaaz Samiti , has not only implemented communitarian in situ water management but has also carried out research to provide evidence of the unviability of centralised water management and the suitability of the former. Here is a film based on a detailed research that I did on urban water management in Chhattisgarh for the National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi, that succinctly critiques cen

Terrorism and right-wing politics in Bangladesh: Exploring the nexus

By Shafiqul Elahi*  Although terrorism as broadly understood as violent extremism or militancy has long historical roots, in Bangladesh, it surfaced in the 1970s through leftist militants. Later, it shifted to Islamist extremism in the 1980s and flourished throughout the 1990s, and reached its peak in the early 2000s. The menace of terrorism particularly in the form of Islamic militancy has widely been felt in Bangladesh's society and polity since 1999. Since then, several militant groups have gained ground and started to challenge the government over the issues of the political process and social systems in the country. The central goal of the operations of the militant groups is to establish an Islamic regime in the country. The Fifth Amendment of the Bangladesh Constitution under the Zia regime in the late 1970s and the eighth amendments of the Constitution under the Ershad regime in the early 1980s have placed Islam at the state level to recognize its importance in the country

Chemical project promoters of Tamil Nadu have a lot to learn from Gujarat

By NS Venkataraman*  When good investment opportunities in chemical industry exist which are known in a region and which are yet to be exploited, it can be said that the chemical industry in the region is at the cross roads. However, when there are good investment opportunities in chemical industry but which are ignored and focus shifted to some other sector, it can be said that the scenario amount to poor strategy. Tamil Nadu government has now fixed a target for achieving one trillion dollar economy in the state by 2030. This is a bold and forward looking initiative and certainly this target is achievable, even though the year 2030 is only seven years away. With the target of achieving one trillion dollar size economy, it is necessary to give due role and importance for the growth of the chemical industry, since several chemical products are feed inputs for several other industrial sector such as automobile, electronics, textile and so on. Growth of such chemical in

Floods: As ax falls on most vulnerable, Pak seeks debt cancellation, climate justice

By Tanupriya Singh  Even as the floodwaters have receded, the people of Pakistan are still trying to grapple with the death and devastation the floods have left in their wake. The floods that swept across the country between June and September have killed more than 1,700 people, injured more than 12,800, and displaced millions as of November 18. The scale of the destruction in Pakistan was still making itself apparent as the world headed to the United Nations climate conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.  Pakistan was one of two countries invited to co-chair the summit. It also served as chair of the Group of 77 (G77) and China for 2022, playing a critical role in ensuring that the establishment of a loss and damage fund was finally on the summit’s agenda, after decades of resistance by the Global North. “The dystopia has already come to our doorstep,” Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman told Reuters. By the first week of September, pleas for h