SC Directs Delhi Govt. To Register Domestic Workers Under The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act
The Supreme Court bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.Banumathi, on August 4, gave the Delhi Government three months to work on a pilot project, to see that the domestic workers in Delhi are registered under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008, by eliciting cooperation on all the duty holders. The Government of NCT of Delhi has been directed to file an affidavit as to the progress made in the matter of registration within three months.
The bench issued the order in the course of hearing the SLP filed by Shramjeevi Mahila Samiti, filed in 2012.
The bench asked the newly-constituted National Social Security Board to file a statement regarding the steps it has taken for the welfare of the unorganized sector and in particular, the domestic workers, within a period of one month.
Earlier, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) expressed its readiness to assist in this matter, but it found it difficult to reach the domestic workers. The appellant’s senior counsel, Colin Gonsalves suggested that the Labour Department, by cooperating with the RWAs, and NALSA through its para-legal volunteers, could render justice to the domestic workers.
On March 24, the bench took note of the fact that under Section 3 of the National Social Security Act, 2008, there is a provision for framing of schemes. Section 5 contemplates the constitution of a NSSB, and Section 6 contemplates State Social Security Boards (SSSB). The bench also came to know that there are as many as six Central Schemes for the unorganized workers. It also found that the NSSB was first constituted in 2009, reconstituted in 2013, and its term was over in 2016. The bench, therefore, directed its reconstitution within a month.
Gonsalves had told the bench that despite the Act coming into force in 2008 and despite framing of several schemes, no domestic worker has enjoyed the benefit of any scheme. Apparently, this is on account of the fact that the domestic workers have not been registered for the purpose of the benefits. Also, it was disclosed that no district administration has taken any steps for the registration of the unorganized workers, and issue of identity cards to them. As domestic workers voluntarily will not come forward to register, it was suggested that there is need for a pro-active campaign by the para-legal volunteers attached to the Taluk Legal Services Committees for the purpose.
The SLP originated from a Delhi High Court judgment, in which 256 women and children from West Bengal, employed as domestic workers in Delhi, without wages, were rescued and rehabilitated.