Thursday, May 3, 2012

Editorial, "Employment Rights." in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 30 April 2012 issue (Vol. 8, Part 1, No. 8):


are getting more and more constricted it seems, rather than being 
broadened, although we profess the ideal of a democratic socialist republic 

assuring social, political and economic justice, together with several 
individual liberties, to the people, at least on the paper of our Constitution. 
Though the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, as amended from time to time, is 
stated to be a social welfare legislation, made mainly to aid the working 
classes, basically its aim and object are declared as achieving industrial 
peace and creating a congenial climate to both the employers and workers. 
Also its scope is circumscribed since it only applies to the workmen as 
defined therein but not to all employees. It gives the workers several 
employment rights no doubt, but it is not an employment rights law 
proper. The remedial mechanisms created thereby are not amply efficient 
or broad in scope; the labour courts are not even declared to be courts 
proper, though high level judicial officers are sought to be placed as 
presiding officers. The greatest drawback is that even the workmen cannot 
directly approach the industrial tribunals/labour courts for many 
grievances but at the same time their approach to civil courts is subtly 
barred citing these very tribunals/labor courts as effective alternative 
remedies! In contrast, we find the government employees, doubtless a 
‘creamy layer’ among the employees, accorded Administrative Tribunals 
to which they can directly take their grievances on sundry matters – even 
such ones as stoppage of increments. It is really a strange type of socialism 
and social welfare measures prevailing in India, like relatively fat-salaried 
govt. employees being accorded concession bus passes at Rs. 200-300 per 
month while general workers/self-employed poor with low wages of 2000-
5000 p.m. are constrained to buy bus passes at Rs. 400-500 p.m., to cite just 
one example. On the eve of May Day we desire and suggest that people 
demand and fight for a change in such a woeful state of affairs and achieve 
a sound employment rights law with broad-in-scope, powerful labor courts 
for effective and expeditious redress of their many grievances. §§§

Editorial in LAW ANIMATED WOLD, 15 April 2012 issue: "RIGHT TO EDUCATION"


is, doubtless, an inalienable part of the right to life of human beings in society, and it has been so recognized by various national and international covenants and basic laws. It was the Mohini Jain decision of the early 1990’s which, for the first time, breathed this right into the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of our Constitution but, sadly, it has been reversed by a later larger bench of the Apex Court. Coming just a year later, the Unnikrishnan decision struck a via media by recognizing the need for free or affordable higher education to the economically weaker and deprived sections and allotting them at least 50% of ‘free’ seats in all private colleges, which did contribute to stem the tide of trading in education to a considerable extent. However, coming about a decade later, the TMA Pai Foundation decision by thirteen heads of justice has unfortunately reversed the trend of catering to the weal and woe of the ‘wretched of the earth’ by putting a firm stamp of approval on the almost indiscriminate commercialization of education that began to run full speed in the recent phase of capitalist globalization. The damaging effects of this deplorable decision are there to be seen not only in the sphere of higher education but even in the field of primary education. It may be noted that soon after this TMA Pai decision, free and compulsory primary education to all children of 6-14 years age was made a fundamental right by bringing a new Article 21-A into our Constitution. The recent Apex Court decision validating the RTE Act passed by the Parliament in pursuance of Article 21A, which directs private educational institutions also to share the burden, to some extent, of rendering free education to the children, is being hailed as a blow for the rights of children, especially of the weaker sections. But the point remains that it is not just some but all children, i.e. each and every child, that are entitled to the benefit of this basic right. In this context, the very privatization of primary education comes up for questioning; and it seems the sooner it is done away with and replaced by a caring and efficient public education system the better §§§