By V Arjun
We all know that we have been suffering for almost a year. The corona virus that had caused all these sufferings is still with us. Humanity is going through a hard time during this period. To walk over this pile of inhumane virus we need to stay strong by holding ourselves up. We need to hold each other’s hands for the betterment of humans all around the world. We can move forward only if we stay together. When we take the case of a country, the people are the strength of that country and that country. We all need to stay together to fight against all the challenges coming towards us. For this to happen, it is necessary for us to be united. We shouldn’t push anyone behind the frontline for any reason other than there is something unethical or illegal, connected with that person who is being pushed behind. Other than that, everyone must have a hand in the decision making and every citizen’s voice and opinions must be listened to, while discussing the future of the nation and from there, it reflects the future of the world. Therefore, everyone must be made to stand in the front line. In most of the cases this doesn’t happen because of their lack of confidence or willingness to struggle. This situation can be cured or settled. But what if they are not allowed to come forward just because some people turn to be a hindrance, disallowing entry to people having talent to make the country as well as the world a better place. This is what happens when people are discriminated on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. We would think that the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth is a fundamental right and how can there be a violation of this right? But the sad truth is, even the educated people are discriminating other people on the basis of their religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. According to Article 14 of the Constitution of India, all the people within the territory of India must be treated equally with differentiating them and Article 15 explains the prohibition of discrimination. It has been so many years after the establishment of our republic, still people are looking back to the evils of the society which once prevailed. People enjoy walking with those evils which causes the degradation of the very essence of our country. We know that the people must work hard in their field of interest, as to uplift our nation. For this to take place all the citizens of the country must work hard together. Therefore, the talent of the people must be encouraged and not set back or discouraged. But still there is discrimination on the basis of caste, sex, race, color, place of birth and so on even in the work places. This degrading system is the gravitational force that is pulling the state back to the primitive level. Let’s take an example. The work that one does or the working space of one person or a company as a whole can be considered as a cockpit in an aero plane. The employees are the pilots. They are trying and working hard to take off and fly the plane. What will be the condition of them and the flight if they are fighting or discriminating against each other which would not enable them to do their work? Most probably the fight is going to crash which is going to cost a lot of lives. This same situation can be reflected to our nation as a whole or even the whole wide world. The teachings must first start from home and then from teachers. Those teachers who pass this knowledge are the ideal teachers. Those people who tend to discriminate on the basis of sex, color, caste and place of birth can birth. This can be traced back even to the ancient period. At that time the people were separated or distinguished on the basis of work they did so as to make the people concentrate on their work and also to get the best results, but the wrong interpretation is discriminating against people even their workplaces. Various causes for discrimination can be found if we observe the situations keenly. However, the provisions which prohibit the discrimination of the people turns out to be limited.
FROM ANCIENT INDIA TILL NOW
From the ancient period, if we look at the caste system, we can understand that the division of people on the basis of the work done by them was to make the best output from the people for the betterment of the society. The basic division was brahmins, kshatriyas, Vaishyas and shudras. Here, the brahmins were considered to be coming from the head of the creator, symbolically. Similarly, the kshatriyas from the arms, Vaishyas from the thighs and shudras from the feet. This symbolic representation mainly meant that the brahmins dealt with major works related to setting rules as well as steering the minds of the society and educating people. The kshatriyas were to protect the society and state and acted as arms of the state. The Vaishyas were the people who dealt with the economy and ran businesses. That is, if we look at the human body, the thighs must be strong enough to hold the body and that is why the strongest bone in the human body is situated there. Therefore, if a society is not having a strong and firm economy, then the whole system would go down. Then comes the shudras. They were responsible for all other important work in the society. That is, without them the whole system would not be able to move as the shudras are symbolically represented to the arrived from the feet of the creator. The weight of the whole system was felt in the feet. Therefore, they were the most important. But, when this concept underwent many interpretations as time went by, the people began to focus on the part that the shudras arrived from the feet of the creator and hence they were held to be considered to be the section of the lowest values. The people belonging to upper castes who never wanted to share their importance with other people who did another job. The job that shudras had to do was more physical and hence they were given a place which was much lower to that of the Brahmins. This was a result of shrewdness and selfishness of the people claiming to be belonging to higher castes. This can be explained through a butterfly effect because as time changed those previous decisions of certain people in the society at that time turned out to be seeds which grew to be big trees, whose branches were so strong and that divided the society to a much vulgar extent. The irony is that the division of labor resulted in the caste system and that resulted in discrimination. This discrimination is again sharpening its claws when it comes to the jobs and workplaces in India. This situation unfortunately gives a reason to lament for society. The discrimination of people in the topic jobs can be pointed or classified into two. That is before hiring a person and after hiring a person. Before hiring a person, the employers would make the procedure of getting selected for a job difficult for the candidates by discriminating them on the basis of caste, sex, color, place of birth etc. This way only the people belonging to a certain so-called high class would get high paid jobs when we talk about the private sector companies. Another kind of discrimination takes place after the people get employed. That is, after being an employee of that particular company. They would be treated unequally and they would never be given an equal salary as the person doing the same job. That is based on the caste, gender or so on. This type of discrimination is more commonly seen in private firms. For this situation to change many Acts had been introduced, along with equal opportunity policies. The legislation will help the people suffering, even though there is no umbrella legislation as such.
When we come to this topic, there isn’t any umbrella legislation as such to deal with discrimination at the workplaces. But as an oasis in the desert there are certain laws and legislations that protect the rights of the employees in the private firms too. These laws gives protection as well as compensation to the victims of discrimination at work places. Those Acts are Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, The Maternity Benefit Act,1961, The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act,2016 and Sexual Harassment at Workplace(Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal)Act,2013.
Equal Remuneration Act,1976.
The objective of this Act is to provide equal remuneration for men and women engaged in the same work. So that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of gender at the work place. It must also be ensured that there isn’t any discrimination on the basis of the employment of women. That is, denying job for women belonging to a certain category unless there is any kind of mention or support in the law for such denial. The employees are entitled to claim the wages denied to them but they are not entitled to any compensation under this Act. The employers who violate this Act will be punished with fine and/or imprisonment and aggravated punishment awaits the employers who repeat such acts.
The Maternity Benefit Act,1961.
The object of this Act is to provide maternity leave to women employees while paying them. Under this Act, the termination of the employment of women during the period of pregnancy is prohibited and also, the women’s wages cannot be deducted in this period of pregnancy if they fail to do the work assigned to them with utmost perfection. The employers who violate this Act shall be punished under section 21 of the Act. Also, the 2017 amendment of the Act provides increased maternity benefits to women and also provides the maternity benefits to adoptive and commissioning mothers, under this Act.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act,2016.
The objective of this Act is to ensure that there isn’t any discrimination against the people with disabilities. The Section 2(i) of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 includes private establishments in the definition of establishment. Similarly, non-discrimination for promotion is applicable to private firms too and not only government entities, according to Section 20(3) of the Act. According to this Act every government establishment must appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer and also the establishments must promote equal opportunity. The employers moving against this are punishable with fine.
Sexual Harassment at Workplace(Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal)Act,2013.
The sexual harassment is the lowest lying and brutal way of discrimination against women. The Sexual Harassment at Work Place(Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act empowers the internal complaints committee to deduct a certain amount from the wages of the person doing such a cruelty and that amount will be given to the victim. This is the only legislation in India which enables the victim for compensation even if the offence or discrimination does not happen from the side of the employer himself. This Act is applicable to private companies or private sector organizations too.
It must also be noted that there is no such thing as dignity of labor. That is people are being treated differently on the basis of the job they do. This too reflects back to the era where the caste system evolved into a social evil. All jobs must be given its equal importance. This way, the old system and the present situation shakes hands.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Even though we have legislations which act against the discrimination of people on the basis of color,creed,caste,sex, place of birth etc., the attitude of the people must change. That is the simplest and power thing and if that is changed, we can change each and every discrimination the people are facing and not only in the workplace, but also discrimination around the whole wide world. Every companies or establishments, focusing on the private sectors, must establish an equality policy which works against the discrimination of the works at a workplace. The grievances must be enabled to reach the proper authorities within a short time and proper action must be taken after enquiry. This way the things could be made a lot better.
The future of our country is within the hands of the future generation. To give strength to the arms of the future generation to lift our nation to greater heights, the younger generation shouldn’t be injected with the evils of the past. Open your eyes and realize the truth. Separate your mind from the fake, greedy world and understand the teachings of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar. The applicability of the Article 14, Article 15 and Article 16 of the Constitution of India gets concentrated in the state entities and unknowingly, the concentration gets shifted from the private companies. This is the major reason for such problems. Therefore, to change this situation it is necessary to take the help of important provisions from other statutes as well. One of the major happiness or satisfying factors or light in this darkness is that, even though there isn’t any umbrella legislation as such, the earlier mentioned laws do protect the rights of the employees. The employers must understand the situation of the society and shouldn’t act according to the negative wills. They must be the protectors of the rights of the working people. Working place must be the temple and the work or job they do must be treated as God. That is the faith that each and every individual must have. The private companies must ensure the prohibition of discrimination at their place and also must establish and release anti-discriminatory policies. Also, the companies must ensure that they abide by the provisions in the Constitution of India. The fundamental rights of the people must be taken seriously or else the discriminatory system as well as the victims will go down and that will cause tremendous loss to the economy of our nation, India. The same situation can be applied to all the systems throughout the world. Therefore, it is up to us to make a change and to be a change. The man in the mirror must change his ways, we need to start from there for all the employees or workers ,the citizens of India and all the people around the world.
 Bare Act, Constitution of India,1950(Commercial Law Publishers (India)pvt.ltd.,2019)
Indian Kanoon, https://indiankanoon.org/search/?formInput=equal+remuneration+act
 Indian Kanoon,https://indiankanoon.org/search/?formInput=Maternity+benefit+act
 Indian Kanoon,https://indiankanoon.org/search/?formInput=Rights+of+person+with+disabilities+Act
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