JAC Board Class 8th Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 10 Law and Social Justice
→ To protect people from any kind of exploitation, the government makes certain laws. These laws try to ensure that unfair practices are kept at a minimum in the markets.
- Private companies, contractors, business persons normally want to make as much profit as they can.
- To ensure that workers are not underpaid, or are paid fairly, there is a law on minimum wages.
- The minimum wages are revised upwards eveiy few years.
- There are also laws that protect the interests of producers and consumers in the market.
- These help ensure that the relations between these three parties – the worker, consumer and producer – are governed in a manner that is not exploitative.
- The government has to ensure that these laws are implemented. This means that the law must be enforced. Enforcement becomes even more important when the law seeks to protect the weak from the strong.
- Many of these laws have their basis in the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
→ What is a Worker’s Worth?
- One reason why foreign companies come to India is for cheap labour.
- Wages that the companies pay to workers, say in the U.S.A., are far higher than what they have to pay to workers in poorer countries like India.
- Cost cutting can also be done by other more dangerous means. Lower working conditions including lower safety measures are used as ways of cutting costs.
- Making use of the workers’ vulnerability, employers ignore safety in workplaces.
→ Enforcement of Safety Laws:
- As the lawmaker and enforcer, the government is supposed to ensure that safety laws are implemented.
- Instead of protecting the interests of the people, their safety was being disregarded both by the government and by private companies.
- With more industries being set up both by local and foreign businesses in India, there is a great need for stronger laws protecting worker’s rights and better enforcement of these laws.
→ New Laws to Protect the Environment:
- In 1984, there were veiy few laws protecting the environment in India, and there was hardly any enforcement of these laws.
- The environment was treated as a ‘free’ entity and any industry could pollute the air and water without any restrictions.
- In response to this pressure from environmental activists and others, in the years following the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Indian government introduced new laws on the environment.
- In Subhash Kumar vs. State of Bihar (1991), the Supreme Court held that the Right to Life is a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution and it includes the right to the enjoyment of pollution-free water and air for full enjoyment of life.
- The government is responsible for setting up laws and procedures that can check pollution, clean rivers and introduce heavy fines for those who pollute.
- A major role of the government, is to control the activities of private companies by making, enforcing and upholding laws so as to prevent unfair practices and ensure social justice.
- This means that the government has to make ‘appropriate laws’ and also has to enforce the laws.
- Laws that are weak and poorly enforced can cause serious harm, as the Bhopal gas tragedy showed.
- People must demand stronger laws protecting workers’ interests so that the Right to Life is achieved for all.