IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.79 OF 2005
Occupational Health and
Safety Association … Petitioner Versus
Union of India and others … Respondents
J U D G M E N T
K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.
1. The Petitioner, a non-profit occupational health and safety organization, registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, has invoked the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking the following reliefs :-
a. To issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order, or direction directing the Respondents to frame guidelines with respect to occupational safety and health regulations to be maintained by various industries;
b. To issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing respondents to appoint and constitute a committee for the monitoring of the working of thermal power plants in India and to keep check on the health and safety norms for the workers working in their power stations;
c. To issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing the respondents to pay compensation to the workers who are victims of occupational health disorders and to frame a scheme of compensation for workers in cases of occupational health disorders;
d. To issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing the respondents to notify the recommendations as contained in paragraph 35 of the Petition as guidelines to be followed by thermal power plant.
2. The Petitioner represents about 130 Coal Fired Thermal Power Plants (CFTPPs) in India spread over different States in the country, but no proper occupational health services with adequate facilities for health delivery system or guidelines with respect to occupational safety are in place. Factories Act, Boilers Act, Employees’ State Insurance Act, Compensation Act, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, Environmental Protection Act, etc. are in place, but the lack of proper health delivery system, evaluation of occupational health status of workers, their safety and protection cause serious occupational health hazards.
3. The Petitioner herein filed I.A. No.1 of 2005 and 2 of 2007 and highlighted the serious diseases, the workers working in thermal plants are suffering from over a period of years. The Report produced by the Petitioner would indicate that half of the workers have lung function abnormalities, pulmonary function test abnormalities, senor neuro loss, skin diseases, asthama, and so on. This Court noticing the same, passed an interim order on 30.1.2008, after taking note of the various suggestions made at the Bar to reduce the occupational hazards of the employees working in various thermal power stations in the country. Following are the main suggestions put forward before this Court :