Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Writ Petition by IIT Kanpur Alumni about labour law violations at IITK

Writ Petition by IIT Kanpur Alumni about labour law violations at IITK


We, a group of IIT Kanpur Alumni have filed a Writ Petition in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court. The Writ Petition is about the gross violation of labour laws at IIT Kanpur. As petitioners, we have prayed before the High Court that there are a very large number of Contract labours at this Institute employed in building and infrastructure construction work, messes, security, sanitation, horticulture, maintenance etc. Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act and Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Rules have been promulgated for their security and welfare. In section 12 of this Act, licensing of contractors is needed. It also requires rest-rooms, wholesome drinking water, latrines and urinals, First-aid facilities etc. at the workplace and Minimum wages to workers. The Act affixes the responsibilities for the compliances of these provisions on the Principal Employer (here IIT Kanpur) in case the contractor fails in his duty.

In addition other Acts like Minimum Wages Act, Employees' State Insurance Act, Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act are also there for these labour forces. 
Yet, despite the best of the efforts made by a host of concerned people, including the ex-Alumni, Professors of the Institute, socially aware persons and groups of workers there has not been any satisfactory improvement in the compliance of the various labour laws there at IIT Kanpur. 

The petition requests the High Court to direct the Respondents to comply with the labour laws in letter and spirit. It also requests for creation of a Monitoring Committee consisting of IIT Kanpur Alumni and Professors, labours and labour department officials. It prays for certain definite procedures and roles assigned to this monitoring committee.  There are a large number of evidences enough to prove the fact that all these labour laws are not being implemented properly at IIT Kanpur. In fact an electronic petition “Stop violating contract worker rights in IITK”  has also been initiated for this purpose which has been signed so far by 1316 ex Alumni from IIT Kanpur.

The petitioners are me, Shailendra Singh, Professor at IIM Lucknow, K C Joshi, renowned Mathematics teacher, Bridge player Shantanu Rastogi, Railway officer Prithul Gupta, Defence Account officer D K Rai, Physics teacher Shaalu Rai, all based at Lucknow. Ashok Pandey is the counsel for the petitioners. The date of first hearing of the Writ Petition shall be Friday (02/02/2011).

While there is common knowledge that labour laws are being flouted by many contractors, yet  a very large section of the Alumni of IIT Kanpur feel that this being a premier educational Institution, it shall take lead in getting all the labour laws in its complete form. Thus, there is a need to initiate the process of implementation of labour laws in fullness and our Writ petition is a step in this direction. We hope to get suitable guidelines from the High Court which shall later be extended to other places as well.

Your support and assistance for future course of action in this regards is always solicited.

Amitabh Thakur,
IIM Lucknow

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