Law and Social Justice

Laws are a system of rules and guidelines enforced through a set of institutions (legislature, executive and judiciary). The government has to ensure that laws are being implemented and social justice prevails. Many of these laws have their basis in Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitution of India promises to secure social, economic and political justice. Article 38 says, “State to secure social order for the promotion of welfare of people.” In order to ensure that workers are not underpaid, Minimum Wage Law has been passed by the government. Minimum Wages are decided by the Labour Departments of respective states.

In order to ensure abolition of child labour, the government has to regularly inspect factories and punish those who violate the law. The Constitution lays down that “No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mines or any other hazardous employment.” The world’s worst industrial tragedy took place in Bhopal. Union Carbide, an American company, had a factory which produced pesticides. On 2 December 1984, methyl-isocyanite (MIC), a poisonous gas started leaking from this plant. Many were killed and many more were severely affected. Government represented the victims in a civil case against UC. The Supreme Court of India directed a final settlement of all Bhopal litigation, in the amount of $470 million, to be paid by March 31, 1989. Within 10 days of the order, UCC and UCIL made full payment of $470 million to the Government of India.

Safety laws have been enacted to ensure labour safety. It is the duty of the government to ensure that the Right to Life is not violated. New Environmental laws have also been enacted. Some of them are – The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, The National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995 and The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control), 2002.

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