Supreme Court: Stops Employers From Forcing 12-Hour Workshift (Landmark Judgement)

While hearing a petition against enforcing 12-hours workshift in factories across Gujarat, a bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joesph has given a verdict which will set a new benchmark.

The Bench said that no employer can enforce 12-hour workshift in Gujarat, as it breaks not only Right to employment laws, but also Right to Life.

In other words, enforcing 12-hours shift is not humane.

The Bench stated, “Burden cannot be put on workers during the (coronavirus) pandemic. It is not the appropriate response. Right to employment and fair wage are part of Right to Life,” 

The verdict was announced via video conferencing.

What Was The Petition?

Couple of months back, Gujarat Labour and Employment Department had made few amendments in the Factories Act 1948, and allowed factores to enforce 12 hour work shift for all employees.

As per the Gujarat Govt, this was done to boost production across factories, and revive industries all across the state after the lockdown ended. Covid-19 pandemic and slowdown due to lockdown was mentioned as justified reasons for this new rule.

Soon, protests erupted all across the state over this new rules.

Besides allowing factory owners to enforce 12-hour workshifts, the enw rule also allowed them to pay less, pay less overtimes, reduce breaks and more. 

Infact, not only Gujarat, but states like Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan had also allowed factories to impose 12-hour work-shift.

An employee union called Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha filed a petition against enforcing 12-hour workship, on which the bench has now given its verdict.

Now, employee unions in other states too can fight this injustice, and ensure that employees are now overburdened with work.

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