Series of directions passed in response to a 2010 public interest litigation plea

The Delhi High Court passed a series of directions on Friday for making work sites conducive for construction workers and ensuring medical facilities for them and free education for the children while the parents are at work.

Passing the directions on a public interest litigation filed in 2010 during the construction of the Commonwealth Games Village highlighting denial of basic human rights to the workers there and at other work sites related to the Games, a Division Bench of thE court comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said spouses of construction workers will be entitled to maternity benefits and their children to medical and educational benefits at the work sites.

To bring in transparency in payment of wages to workers, the Bench said their wages will be transferred electronically to their accounts and employers will provide wage slips as a proof of wage payment.

The Bench said that employers will open zero-balance accounts in the names of workers with ATM facility and the addresses of unions to which they will pledge their support will be taken as the residential addresses for opening of the accounts.

The petitioner had drawn the attention of the Court to cases of violation of labour laws and denial of basic facilities to workers and their children at the Games Village and other construction sites related to the Games.

The petitioner’s allegations had been endorsed later by a Court-appointed four-member committee asked to make an on-the-spot inquiry about the conditions of these workers.

The committee had reported that construction workers at the Commonwealth Games sites were not getting proper wages and were working in unsafe and unhygienic conditions. In a large number of cases, there was no weekly off for them and they were employed on daily wages and were paid for the days they actually worked, the Committee had stated.

The committee had found that though basic safety gears were issued to workers at a majority of the sites visited by it, the workers were generally found working without them. The wages, ranging from Rs.300 to Rs.800, of some of the workers who used the safety gears were deducted, the committee stated.

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