According to Article 42 of the Indian Constitution, the government must establish policies to guarantee fair and compassionate working conditions and maternity relief. This Article’s character made it such that when it came up for consideration, it was accepted on November 23rd, 1948, without any dispute. Article 41 reflects India’s endeavor to uplift the marginalized and vulnerable sections of society, striving towards a welfare state where every individual’s dignity and well-being are protected.

What does Article 42 states ?

Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief

  • The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
Essential Features of the Article 42
  • It instructs the state to pass legislation guaranteeing fair and humane working conditions and maternity benefits.
  • Like the others, this premise is unjusticiable. It follows that a court of law cannot uphold this theory.
  • It places a responsibility on both the central government and the state governments to use this approach when drafting legislation governing things like maternity benefits and factory working conditions, among other things.
  • Its goal is to establish working environments where each and every employee will be inspired to perform well. Additionally, it attempts to provide maternity benefits for female employees so they may take time off work while giving birth without fear of losing their jobs.
  • Serves as a benchmark against which the public may compare government activities on maternity leave and working conditions.
  • When the executive or the administration has taken dubious activities against what is stated by this concept, the courts might utilize it to aid in their decision-making.
Landmark judgements regarding Article 42

Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Female Workers 

Female Workers v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi on 8 March 2000 included female workers who were temporary employees rather than permanent employees and claimed they were entitled to maternity benefits that are provided to regular employees. The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961’s provisions, according to the Court, are in accordance with Articles 39 and 42. It argued that forcing a female employee to work while she is pregnant would be damaging to both the woman and the unborn child. The Act offers 6 weeks of maternity leave before and after birth because of this.

B. Shah v. Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Coimbatore, and Ors

Another case was B. Shah v. Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Coimbatore, and Ors. on October 12, 1997. The Supreme Court had to consider whether Sundays should be omitted from the formula used to determine maternity benefits during the time period covered by Section 5 in this case. Sundays must be included, the Labour Court said. It applied the construction industry’s beneficial rule in the female workers’ favor and stated that the benefit provided by the Act, when read in conjunction with Article 42 of the Indian Constitution, was meant to enable the female worker to make up for her lost energy and maintain her previous level of productivity.


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