RIGHT TO WORK BY: RACHITA MATHUR

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which were acceded by India. According to Article 23 and Article 6 it recognizes the right to work in an employment of one choice and the State’s responsibility to safeguard this right. However, the Indian Constitution does not explicitly recognize the right to work as a fundamental right. It is placed in Part IV (Directive Principles of State Policy) of the Constitution under Article 41, which makes it unenforceable in the court of law. Despite the absence of an express wording of the right to work in Part III (Fundamental Rights) of the Indian Constitution, it became a fundamental right through a judicial interpretation. The wider interpretation of Article 21 was given under the case of Olga Tellis & Ors. V. Bombay Municipal Corporation & Ors in this case right to work was recognized as a fundamental right. The Court held that there could be no estoppel against the Constitution, Futher the Court observed that persons in the position of the petitioners lived in slums and on pavements because they had small jobs in the city. The Court also observed that though the petitioners were using public property for private use, they had no intention of committing an offence, intimidate, insult or annoy any person, which is the gist of the offence of Criminal Trespass as defined under Section 441 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 that they lived there due to economic compulsion. Right to work is the fundamental right the Court held that it makes life possible to live and must be deemed to be an integral component of the right to life. If a person is deprived of his right to livelihood he shall be consequently deprived of his right to life, for life as enshrined under Article 21, which means more than mere animal existence. It is an outcome of a harmonious interpretation of both the fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy. Right to work v. Right to demand employment from the government, Here the State cannot be compelled to provide adequate means of livelihood or work to the citizens by acting affirmatively. If any person is deprived of his right to livelihood except according to just and fair procedure established by law, he can challenge the deprivation as offending the right to life conferred by Article 21. In the landmark judgment of Olga Tellis case it recognized the right as being inherent in Article 21. Though right to work is not a fundamental right explicitly mentioned in Part III of the Constitution of India, it is now read along with the right to life under Article 21. The law contains provisions with respect to working conditions, wages, welfare, social security and employer-employee relation. There a number of Centre and State made laws which aim to protect and safeguard the rights of employees/labours. Hence it is mandatory that the contract between the employer and employee adhere to the provisions of the law of contract as well as the prevalent labour laws. At the end we can conclude that by providing every person within the Indian Territory with the right to be employed in an employment of their choice, subject to lawful restrictions, to protect them from being deprived of their life. Further, the Right prevents the removal of any person from employment or deprivation of a person from being employed except as per procedure established by law.

 

 

 

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