Ordinance Passed by Uttar Pradesh to Suspend Labour Legislations.


Recently the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath passed an ordinance which was titled as ‘The Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance,2020’ which aims to suspend nearly 35 labour legislation, for a period of three years to promote and develop the industrial sector, and to increase the state economy that was affected due to COVID’19[1]. Though most of the labour laws are welfare legislations, the government had suspended the laws. Except for 3 legislations and one section of one legislation, that is Bonded Labour System ( abolition) Act, 1976; Workmen Compensation Act, 1923; Building and other Construction worker Act, 1996 and section-5 of Minimum Wages Act, 1948, which provides for timely payment, rest all other legislations including Minimum Wages Act,1948; The Equal Remuneration Act,1976; Trade Unions Act, 1926; The Industrial Employment Act, 1947; The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; and The Factories Act, 1948 were suspended[2].

Historical Background of Labour Legislations:

During the late 17th century and early 18th century, the Britishers never intended to make India as an industrial base rather they wanted to make India a supplier of raw materials for their industries. They continued to de-industrialize India and further when the industrial revolution took place in England, the British government continued its efforts to further exploit the Indian economy. Head of the factory owner doesn’t give attention to workers health and their financial condition they are paying more attention towards there maintenance of the machine.

Due to the invention of machines, many labourers from rural area migrated to the urban due for work, and these workers were underpaid[3]. To maintain the standard of living and meet the ends, the whole family including children had to work, where the factory owners started exploiting women and children and not paying them equal wage though they were doing same work as men. The employer’s enjoyed 'Freedom of Contract'. After International Labour Organization was established in 1919, it mandated the need for the governments around the world to include certain necessary provisions like safe working conditions, compensation in case of injury during work, the formation of association or unions, minimum wages and benefits to workers in the contract agreement. By this, the Indian government came up with labour legislation like Employee's Compensation Act, 1923; Trade Unions Act,1926; and Payment of Wages Act,1936.

Constitutionality of suspension of Labour Legislations:

The subject of Labour Law is covered under entry-22,24 of Concurrent list, where both the centre and the state has the authority to make decisions on these subjects. In the case of People’s Union For Democratic Rights v. Union Of India & Others[4], the court opined that principle of the minimum wage is a byproduct of article 23 hence paying less than minimum wages amounts to forced labour Justice Chandrachud in one of his judgments opined that “suspension of Labour laws violates the fundamental rights and Directive principles of state policy”.

Article 254(1) states that if any provision of law made by the legislature is repugnant to any provision of law made by Parliament in relation to the matters enumerated in the III List, Law made by Parliament Should be followed not by the legislature. [5].

Article 213 empowers the Governor to promulgate such ordinances and stipulates that the Governor shall not without instructions from the President promulgate any such ordinance until and unless the acceptance of president is not received even though the act legislative is containing the same provision it will not be valid[6].

The suspension of labour laws will drastically affect the working class, where there be no equal remuneration for equal work, no proper unions to raise voice against the management for collective bargaining, no proper safety structures and no proper compensation for the injury caused to labourers during employment.

By ---- Kotta Naga Anjaneya Chaitanya, student of 3rd year from Christ(Deemed to be University) and he is currently pursuing B.A.LL.B.

[1]Major labor laws suspend in UP for three years, TOI, May 8,2020.

[2]Prasanthi Awasthi, Up govt suspend all the labor laws except three to lure the industrialists, The Business Line, May 8, 2020.

[3] CA. Rajkumar S Adukia, A study on Labour Laws in India, page-3. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://nclcil.in/infobank/act/history_of_labour_laws.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwj5ytPg3eXpAhUJ63MBHVLbBe4QFjABegQIDRAG&usg=AOvVaw1L8nqo-owDx2OM-QiYcfyv

[4]People’s Union For Democratic Rights v. Union Of India & Others,1982 AIR 1473.

[5]Constitution of India


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