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"The jurisprudence of personhood or philosophy of the right to the life envisaged under Article 21, enlarges its sweep to encompass human personality in its full blossom with invigorated health which is a wealth to the workmen to earn his livelihood, to sustain the dignity of person and to live a life with dignity and equality... The expression 'life' assured in Article 21 of the Constitution does not connote mere animal existence  or continued drudgery through life. It has a much wider meaning which includes right to livelihood, better standard of living, hygienic conditions in the work place and leisure."

"...right to health, medical aid to protect the health and vigour of a worker while in service or post retirements is a fundamental  right under Article 21, read with Articles 39(e), 41, 43, 48A and all related Articles and fundamental human rights to make the life of the workmen meaningful and purposeful with dignity of person. The right to health of a worker is an integral facet of meaningful right to life, to have not only a meaningful existence but also robust health and vigour without which the worker would lead a life of misery. Lack of health denudes him of his livelihood. Compelling economic necessity to work in an industry exposed to health hazards... should not be at the cost of the health and vigour of the workman."

- The Supreme Court of India in Consumer Education and Research Center v. Union of India, (1995) 3 SCC 42 (at 68, 70).

Comment

By a number of judgments, initiated through public interest litigation, the Court has fulfilled the Constitutional vision of "social justice" holding it to be an integral part of justice, towards attaining a substantial degree of social, economic and political equality which are the legitimate expectations of the Indian People. The Court has continued to remind the employer and the producer of their legal and social responsibilities not to endanger workmen especially those working with high risk materials and in high  risk environments. The court has not hesitated in issuing appropriate directions to the employer, be it the state or its undertakings or  private employers to make the right to life meaningful, to prevent pollution  at the work place, to protect the environment, to protect the health of workmen or to preserve clean water for the safety and health of the people.

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