Consumer Education and Research Center and Others Vs. Union of India & Others.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 27/01/1995
COURT: Supreme Court of India
JUDGES: B Ramaswamy, K. Ahmadi A.M. (CJ), Punchhi, M.M.
REFERENCE: 1995 AIR 922
Petitioner: Consumer Education and Research Center and Others
Respondent: Union of India & Others.
SUBJECT: In this 1995 judgment the Court thought about the laborers’ entitlement to health and medical aid (while in service or post retirement) to be a basic part of the right to life cherished in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
- The Consumer Education and Research Center, a NGO working in the territories of consumer’s rights, recorded a few writ petitions against the Government of India under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution in regards to the insurance of laborers against the work related health hazards and diseases related with asbestos exposure.
- The applicant applied for remedial measures to fill in legislative holes, to require obligatory pay for work related perils and diseases or death to workers who didn’t meet all requirements for such inclusion under the current labour legislation, to give sufficient components to diagnosing and controlling asbestosis, (for example, obligatory mechanism to check levels of asbestos in work environments combined with expert boards to establish admissible degrees of asbestos), to set up a committee to suggest whether the dry procedure can be totally supplanted by the wet, to keep health records of every worker for essential minimum periods, to give mandatory medical coverage to workers, lastly to grant compensation to those experiencing asbestos.
The Indian Constitution:
- Article 32: Remedies for enforcement of rights conferred by Part III
- The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed
- The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III
- Article 21: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
Whether the workers’ right to health and medical aid a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution?
- The Court examined the Convention 162 of the International Labor Conference that provides arrangements for the betterment of workers. The Court requested that the “All Safety in the Use of Asbestos” guidelines and rules distributed by the International Labor Organization be obligatory on all businesses, that businesses will undoubtedly remunerate workers for health risks they had endured because of exposure to asbestos, that there be maintenance of health records by factories of each employees for the base timeframe, the required adoption by all enterprises of the “Membrane Filter test” to detect asbestos, that enterprises give obligatory medical insurance to all workers whether or not they are secured by the current plans and enactments, and the inspection of laborers who might be suffering with asbestos- related risks to decide whether they ought to be compensated.
● In its discourse of the worker’s right to health and a sound and secure work environment, the Court cited Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (human sensitivity and ethical duty of States), Article 7of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (right of everybody to enjoy just and favorable conditions of work), and a few articles from the Indian Constitution counting Articles 38 (advancement of welfare of the individuals), 39(e) (measures to guarantee the health and quality of the laborers), 42 (secure fair and humane conditions of work), 43 (secure to all laborers a conventional standard of life), and 46 (security of the poor from social injustice and all types of exploitation).
- Citing Apex Court case points of reference counting that of Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation [Air 1986 SC 180] that lays out statute on the right to life and points of reference where courts have issued directions for the welfare of laborers, the Court considered the workers’ right to wellbeing and restorative help (while in service or post retirement) to be an indispensably part of the right to life revered in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.