A PIL HAS BEEN FILED IN SC AGAINST THE DECISION THE 3 STATES (U.P., GUJRAT & M.P.) REGARDING THE RELAXATION AND DILUTION OF LABOUR LAWS IN THE WAKE OF THE LOCKDOWN DUE TO COVID-19

A PIL has been filed in the SC for quashing the changes made in labour laws by states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh and others in view of prevailing COVID-19 situation.

Pankaj Kumar Yadav, a freelance journalist from Jharkhand, filed the PIL through advocate Nirmal Kumar Ambastha asking the court to quash various notifications issued to relax the provisions of Factories Act, 1948, and the Industrial Disputes Act, among others, much to the detriment of the poor workmen on the premise of facilitating economic activities in various parts of the country.The petitioner said during the 2nd phase of national lockdown, the Union government decided to permit certain industrial activities for the dual purpose of enabling the production of essential as well as non-essential goods and secondly to enable the workers to earn their livelihood in these difficult times.
However, on requests of industrialists, various state governments agreed to accord relaxations to these industries from the rigours of labour laws related to weekly hours, daily hours, intervals for rest, which are “neither lawful nor in the interest of workers”. All these state governments exercised powers under the Factories Act, which can be exercised only in case of a grave emergency, related to security or war or external aggression.
Various newspaper reports stated that other states like Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh have also granted similar exemptions to the industries under the Factories Act. “The poorest of poor labourers, who earn their livelihood by working for someone else, cannot be exclusively burdened to bear the detrimental effects of economic growth of the economically ruined country in view of the Coronavirus pandemic being faced by the entire world,” he contended.