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Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Seeking To Count Interns As Trainees & Consider Them For Stipend, Working Hours, Leave & Other Legal Protection

Shruti Kakkar
8 Jan 2022 10:21 AM GMT
Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Seeking To Count Interns As Trainees & Consider Them For Stipend, Working Hours, Leave & Other Legal Protection
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The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition seeking directions to the Union to regard interns as trainees under Apprentices Act, 1961 and consider them for stipend, working hours, leave and other legal protections available to trainees.The bench of Justices UU Lalit, SR Bhatt and Hrishikesh Roy while dismissing the petition in their order said,"Permission to appear and argue...

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition seeking directions to the Union to regard interns as trainees under Apprentices Act, 1961 and consider them for stipend, working hours, leave and other legal protections available to trainees.

The bench of Justices UU Lalit, SR Bhatt and Hrishikesh Roy while dismissing the petition in their order said,

"Permission to appear and argue the matter in person is granted. Heard the petitioner-in-person. With the assistance of the petitioner, we have gone through the contents of the writ petition and the accompanying documents. We do not find any reason to entertain this writ petition which has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The Writ Petition is dismissed. Pending applications, if any, shall stand disposed of."

It was stated in the petition that uncontrolled internship which allows the internship providers to exploit interns in any and every way they want violates the fundamental right of interns under Article 14,16, 21 and 23 of the Constitution.

Highlighting the concerns, sufferings, exploitation and problems of students across India, the petitioner (Md Imran Ahmad ) in his petition had averred that the vast majority of internship providers do not even provide stipend to interns.

"The major concern is that internship providers are making the interns work more than the fixed hours that a normal employee is supposed to work as the internship providers find lacuna the Labour/trainee laws that do not apply to interns. Interns are also being made to work on Sundays and holidays, this is not only detrimental to their various constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights including Articles 21 and 23 but also detrimental to their physical and mental health. At many places, interns have replaced orare replacing the normal employees. Interns work like normal employees and in the end, they are not even being paid a stipend. This is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India," the petition states.

Imran Ahmad in his petition had also sought for considering domestic internships in parity with Fair Labour Standards Act, 1938 of USA if all interns could not be counted as trainees.

Further relief was also sought for directing the respondents to:

  • Have a transparent and objective selection procedure for interns for both private and government sectors so that every person gets equal and fair chances of selection
  • Provide accommodation and necessary support system to disabled persons during their internship and apply reservation as available to disabled persons in jobs and education in internship scheme
  • Have a speedy grievance redressal mechanism for interns who feel that they were exploited or harassed in any way during their internship
  • Fix a cap on the number of interns as individual organisations can have at the same time and time period for which an intern can do internship
  • To ensure that interns do not replace normal employees and nobody (including government) be allowed to show job advertisement below the prescribed minimum age

Case Title: MD Imran Ahmad v. Union of India| WP(C) 1120/2021

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