Published on: 25 September 2023 at 00:32 IST
Court: Supreme Court of India
Citation: ESI Corpn. V. Francis De Costa (1993)
Honourable Supreme Court of India has held that Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 is a beneficial piece of legislation intended to provide benefits to employees in case of sickness, maternity, and employment injury. The ESI Act is enacted with a view to ensuring social welfare and for providing safe insurance cover to employees who were likely to suffer from various physical illnesses during the course of their employment. It is held to be the fundamental right of the working class.
5. The Act seeks to cover sickness, maternity, employment injury, occupational disease, etc. The Act is a social security legislation. It is settled law that to prevent injustice or to promote justice and to effectuate the object and purpose of the welfare legislation, broad interpretation should be given, even if it requires a departure from literal construction.
The court must seek light from loadstar Articles 38 and 39 and the economic and social justice envisaged in the Preamble of the Constitution which would enliven meaningful right to life of the worker under Article 21.
The State is enjoined under Article 39(e) to protect the health of the workers, under Article 41 to secure sickness and disablement benefits and Article 43 accords decent standard of life. Right to medical and disability benefits are fundamental human rights under Article 25(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7(b) of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Right to health, a fundamental human right stands enshrined in socio-economic justice of our Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Concomitantly right to medical benefit to a workman is his/her fundamental right.
The Act seeks to succour the maintenance of health of an insured workman. The interpretative endeavour should be to effectuate the above. Right to medical benefit is, thus, a fundamental right to the workman.
Drafted By Abhijit Mishra