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Social and Political Life
100
Chapter 8
Do you recall the ‘Story of a shirt’ from your Class VII
book? We saw there that a chain of markets links the
producer of cotton to the buyer of the shirt in the
supermarket. Buying and selling was taking place at
every step in the chain.
Many of the people directly or indirectly involved in
the production of the shirt - the small farmer producing
cotton, the weavers of Erode or the workers in the
garment - exporting factory - faced exploitation or an
unfair situation in the market.  Markets everywhere
tend to be exploitative of people – whether as workers,
consumers or producers.
To protect people from such exploitation, the
government makes certain laws. These laws try to
ensure that the unfair practices are kept at a minimum
in the markets.
Law and Social
Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 2


Social and Political Life
100
Chapter 8
Do you recall the ‘Story of a shirt’ from your Class VII
book? We saw there that a chain of markets links the
producer of cotton to the buyer of the shirt in the
supermarket. Buying and selling was taking place at
every step in the chain.
Many of the people directly or indirectly involved in
the production of the shirt - the small farmer producing
cotton, the weavers of Erode or the workers in the
garment - exporting factory - faced exploitation or an
unfair situation in the market.  Markets everywhere
tend to be exploitative of people – whether as workers,
consumers or producers.
To protect people from such exploitation, the
government makes certain laws. These laws try to
ensure that the unfair practices are kept at a minimum
in the markets.
Law and Social
Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
101
Let us take a common market situation where the law is
very important. This is the issue of workers’ wages.
Private companies, contractors, businesspersons
normally want to make as much profit as they can. In the
drive for profits, they might deny workers their rights
and not pay them wages, for example. In the eyes of the
law it is illegal or wrong to deny workers their wages.
Similarly to ensure that workers are not underpaid, or
are paid fairly, there is a law on minimum wages. A
worker has to be paid not less than the minimum wage
by the employer. The minimum wages are revised
upwards every few years.
As with the law on minimum wages, which is meant to
protect workers, there are also laws that protect the
interests of producers and consumers in the market.
These help ensure that the relations between these three
parties – the worker, consumer and producer - are
governed in a manner that is not exploitative.
Why do we need a law on
minimum wages?
Find out:
a) What is the minimum
wage for a construction
worker in your state?
b) Do you think the minimum
wage for a construction
worker is adequate, low or
high?
c) Who sets the minimum
wages?
Law and Social Justice
Workers in a textile mill in Ahmedabad. Faced
with greater competition from power looms, a
majority of the textile mills closed down during
the 1980s and 1990s. Power looms are small
units with 4-6 looms. The owners operate them
with hired and family labour. It is well known
that conditions of work in the power looms are
far from satisfactory.
Chapter 8: Law and Social Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 3


Social and Political Life
100
Chapter 8
Do you recall the ‘Story of a shirt’ from your Class VII
book? We saw there that a chain of markets links the
producer of cotton to the buyer of the shirt in the
supermarket. Buying and selling was taking place at
every step in the chain.
Many of the people directly or indirectly involved in
the production of the shirt - the small farmer producing
cotton, the weavers of Erode or the workers in the
garment - exporting factory - faced exploitation or an
unfair situation in the market.  Markets everywhere
tend to be exploitative of people – whether as workers,
consumers or producers.
To protect people from such exploitation, the
government makes certain laws. These laws try to
ensure that the unfair practices are kept at a minimum
in the markets.
Law and Social
Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
101
Let us take a common market situation where the law is
very important. This is the issue of workers’ wages.
Private companies, contractors, businesspersons
normally want to make as much profit as they can. In the
drive for profits, they might deny workers their rights
and not pay them wages, for example. In the eyes of the
law it is illegal or wrong to deny workers their wages.
Similarly to ensure that workers are not underpaid, or
are paid fairly, there is a law on minimum wages. A
worker has to be paid not less than the minimum wage
by the employer. The minimum wages are revised
upwards every few years.
As with the law on minimum wages, which is meant to
protect workers, there are also laws that protect the
interests of producers and consumers in the market.
These help ensure that the relations between these three
parties – the worker, consumer and producer - are
governed in a manner that is not exploitative.
Why do we need a law on
minimum wages?
Find out:
a) What is the minimum
wage for a construction
worker in your state?
b) Do you think the minimum
wage for a construction
worker is adequate, low or
high?
c) Who sets the minimum
wages?
Law and Social Justice
Workers in a textile mill in Ahmedabad. Faced
with greater competition from power looms, a
majority of the textile mills closed down during
the 1980s and 1990s. Power looms are small
units with 4-6 looms. The owners operate them
with hired and family labour. It is well known
that conditions of work in the power looms are
far from satisfactory.
Chapter 8: Law and Social Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
Social and Political Life
102
Law Why is it necessary? Whose interests does the law protect?
Minimum Wages Act Many workers are denied fair This law is meant to protect the
specifies that wages wages by their employers. interests of all workers; particularly,
should not be below a Because they badly need work, farm labourers, construction workers,
specified minimum. workers have no bargaining factory workers, domestic workers, etc.
power and are paid low wages.
Law specifying that
there be adequate
safety measures in
workplaces. For example,
alarm system, emergency
exits, properly -
functioning machinery.
Law requiring that the Consumers might be put to
quality of goods meet risk by the poor quality of
certain prescribed products such as electrical
standards. For example, appliances, food, medicines.
electrical appliances
have to meet safety
standards.
Law requiring that the The interests of the poor who will
prices of essential otherwise be unable to afford these
goods are not high - goods.
For example, sugar,
kerosene, foodgrains.
Law requiring that
factories do not pollute
air or water.
Laws against child
labour in workplaces.
Law to form workers By organising themselves into
unions/associations unions, workers can use their
combined power to demand fair
wages and better working
conditions.
Table 1 provides some important laws relating to the protection of these various interests.
Columns (2) and (3) in Table 1 state why and for whom these laws are necessary. Based on
discussions in the classroom, you have to complete the remaining entries in the table.
Table 1
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 4


Social and Political Life
100
Chapter 8
Do you recall the ‘Story of a shirt’ from your Class VII
book? We saw there that a chain of markets links the
producer of cotton to the buyer of the shirt in the
supermarket. Buying and selling was taking place at
every step in the chain.
Many of the people directly or indirectly involved in
the production of the shirt - the small farmer producing
cotton, the weavers of Erode or the workers in the
garment - exporting factory - faced exploitation or an
unfair situation in the market.  Markets everywhere
tend to be exploitative of people – whether as workers,
consumers or producers.
To protect people from such exploitation, the
government makes certain laws. These laws try to
ensure that the unfair practices are kept at a minimum
in the markets.
Law and Social
Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
101
Let us take a common market situation where the law is
very important. This is the issue of workers’ wages.
Private companies, contractors, businesspersons
normally want to make as much profit as they can. In the
drive for profits, they might deny workers their rights
and not pay them wages, for example. In the eyes of the
law it is illegal or wrong to deny workers their wages.
Similarly to ensure that workers are not underpaid, or
are paid fairly, there is a law on minimum wages. A
worker has to be paid not less than the minimum wage
by the employer. The minimum wages are revised
upwards every few years.
As with the law on minimum wages, which is meant to
protect workers, there are also laws that protect the
interests of producers and consumers in the market.
These help ensure that the relations between these three
parties – the worker, consumer and producer - are
governed in a manner that is not exploitative.
Why do we need a law on
minimum wages?
Find out:
a) What is the minimum
wage for a construction
worker in your state?
b) Do you think the minimum
wage for a construction
worker is adequate, low or
high?
c) Who sets the minimum
wages?
Law and Social Justice
Workers in a textile mill in Ahmedabad. Faced
with greater competition from power looms, a
majority of the textile mills closed down during
the 1980s and 1990s. Power looms are small
units with 4-6 looms. The owners operate them
with hired and family labour. It is well known
that conditions of work in the power looms are
far from satisfactory.
Chapter 8: Law and Social Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
Social and Political Life
102
Law Why is it necessary? Whose interests does the law protect?
Minimum Wages Act Many workers are denied fair This law is meant to protect the
specifies that wages wages by their employers. interests of all workers; particularly,
should not be below a Because they badly need work, farm labourers, construction workers,
specified minimum. workers have no bargaining factory workers, domestic workers, etc.
power and are paid low wages.
Law specifying that
there be adequate
safety measures in
workplaces. For example,
alarm system, emergency
exits, properly -
functioning machinery.
Law requiring that the Consumers might be put to
quality of goods meet risk by the poor quality of
certain prescribed products such as electrical
standards. For example, appliances, food, medicines.
electrical appliances
have to meet safety
standards.
Law requiring that the The interests of the poor who will
prices of essential otherwise be unable to afford these
goods are not high - goods.
For example, sugar,
kerosene, foodgrains.
Law requiring that
factories do not pollute
air or water.
Laws against child
labour in workplaces.
Law to form workers By organising themselves into
unions/associations unions, workers can use their
combined power to demand fair
wages and better working
conditions.
Table 1 provides some important laws relating to the protection of these various interests.
Columns (2) and (3) in Table 1 state why and for whom these laws are necessary. Based on
discussions in the classroom, you have to complete the remaining entries in the table.
Table 1
Rationalised 2023-24
103
But merely making laws is not enough. The government
has to ensure that these laws are implemented. This means
that the law must be enforced. Enforcement becomes even
more important when the law seeks to protect the weak
from the strong. For instance, to ensure that every worker
gets fair wages, the government has to regularly inspect
work sites and punish those who violate the law. When
workers are poor or powerless, the fear of losing future
earnings or facing reprisals often forces them to accept low
wages. Employers know this well and use their power to
pay workers less than the fair wage. In such cases, it is crucial
that laws are enforced.
Through making, enforcing and upholding these laws, the
government can control the activities of individuals or
private companies so as to ensure social justice. Many of
these laws have their basis in the Fundamental Rights
guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. For instance, the
Right against Exploitation says that no one can be forced
to work for low wages or under bondage. Similarly, the
Constitution lays down “no child below the age of 14 years
shall be employed to work in any factory or mines or engaged
in any other hazardous employment.”
How are these laws played out in practice? To what extent
do they address the concerns of social justice? These are
some of the questions that this chapter will now go on to
explore.
According to the 2011 census, over 4 million children in India aged
between 5 and 14 work in various occupations including hazardous
ones. In 2016, Parliament amended the Child Labour (Prohibition and
Regulation) Act, 1986, banning the employment of children below the
age of 14 years in all occupations and of adolescents (14-18 years) in
hazardous occupations and processes. It made employing these children
or adolescents a cognizable offence. Anyone found violating the ban
must be penalized with a punishment ranging from a jail term of six
months to two years and/or fine of `20,000 to `50,000. The central
government had asked state governments to develop plans to rescue
and rehabilitate children who are working.
An online portal, https://pencil.gov.in, Platform for Effective
Enforcement for No Child Labour (PENCIL) has become functional in
2017. It is meant for filing of complaint, child tracking, implementation
and monitoring of National Child Labour Project (NCLP).
Chapter 8: Law and Social Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 5


Social and Political Life
100
Chapter 8
Do you recall the ‘Story of a shirt’ from your Class VII
book? We saw there that a chain of markets links the
producer of cotton to the buyer of the shirt in the
supermarket. Buying and selling was taking place at
every step in the chain.
Many of the people directly or indirectly involved in
the production of the shirt - the small farmer producing
cotton, the weavers of Erode or the workers in the
garment - exporting factory - faced exploitation or an
unfair situation in the market.  Markets everywhere
tend to be exploitative of people – whether as workers,
consumers or producers.
To protect people from such exploitation, the
government makes certain laws. These laws try to
ensure that the unfair practices are kept at a minimum
in the markets.
Law and Social
Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
101
Let us take a common market situation where the law is
very important. This is the issue of workers’ wages.
Private companies, contractors, businesspersons
normally want to make as much profit as they can. In the
drive for profits, they might deny workers their rights
and not pay them wages, for example. In the eyes of the
law it is illegal or wrong to deny workers their wages.
Similarly to ensure that workers are not underpaid, or
are paid fairly, there is a law on minimum wages. A
worker has to be paid not less than the minimum wage
by the employer. The minimum wages are revised
upwards every few years.
As with the law on minimum wages, which is meant to
protect workers, there are also laws that protect the
interests of producers and consumers in the market.
These help ensure that the relations between these three
parties – the worker, consumer and producer - are
governed in a manner that is not exploitative.
Why do we need a law on
minimum wages?
Find out:
a) What is the minimum
wage for a construction
worker in your state?
b) Do you think the minimum
wage for a construction
worker is adequate, low or
high?
c) Who sets the minimum
wages?
Law and Social Justice
Workers in a textile mill in Ahmedabad. Faced
with greater competition from power looms, a
majority of the textile mills closed down during
the 1980s and 1990s. Power looms are small
units with 4-6 looms. The owners operate them
with hired and family labour. It is well known
that conditions of work in the power looms are
far from satisfactory.
Chapter 8: Law and Social Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
Social and Political Life
102
Law Why is it necessary? Whose interests does the law protect?
Minimum Wages Act Many workers are denied fair This law is meant to protect the
specifies that wages wages by their employers. interests of all workers; particularly,
should not be below a Because they badly need work, farm labourers, construction workers,
specified minimum. workers have no bargaining factory workers, domestic workers, etc.
power and are paid low wages.
Law specifying that
there be adequate
safety measures in
workplaces. For example,
alarm system, emergency
exits, properly -
functioning machinery.
Law requiring that the Consumers might be put to
quality of goods meet risk by the poor quality of
certain prescribed products such as electrical
standards. For example, appliances, food, medicines.
electrical appliances
have to meet safety
standards.
Law requiring that the The interests of the poor who will
prices of essential otherwise be unable to afford these
goods are not high - goods.
For example, sugar,
kerosene, foodgrains.
Law requiring that
factories do not pollute
air or water.
Laws against child
labour in workplaces.
Law to form workers By organising themselves into
unions/associations unions, workers can use their
combined power to demand fair
wages and better working
conditions.
Table 1 provides some important laws relating to the protection of these various interests.
Columns (2) and (3) in Table 1 state why and for whom these laws are necessary. Based on
discussions in the classroom, you have to complete the remaining entries in the table.
Table 1
Rationalised 2023-24
103
But merely making laws is not enough. The government
has to ensure that these laws are implemented. This means
that the law must be enforced. Enforcement becomes even
more important when the law seeks to protect the weak
from the strong. For instance, to ensure that every worker
gets fair wages, the government has to regularly inspect
work sites and punish those who violate the law. When
workers are poor or powerless, the fear of losing future
earnings or facing reprisals often forces them to accept low
wages. Employers know this well and use their power to
pay workers less than the fair wage. In such cases, it is crucial
that laws are enforced.
Through making, enforcing and upholding these laws, the
government can control the activities of individuals or
private companies so as to ensure social justice. Many of
these laws have their basis in the Fundamental Rights
guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. For instance, the
Right against Exploitation says that no one can be forced
to work for low wages or under bondage. Similarly, the
Constitution lays down “no child below the age of 14 years
shall be employed to work in any factory or mines or engaged
in any other hazardous employment.”
How are these laws played out in practice? To what extent
do they address the concerns of social justice? These are
some of the questions that this chapter will now go on to
explore.
According to the 2011 census, over 4 million children in India aged
between 5 and 14 work in various occupations including hazardous
ones. In 2016, Parliament amended the Child Labour (Prohibition and
Regulation) Act, 1986, banning the employment of children below the
age of 14 years in all occupations and of adolescents (14-18 years) in
hazardous occupations and processes. It made employing these children
or adolescents a cognizable offence. Anyone found violating the ban
must be penalized with a punishment ranging from a jail term of six
months to two years and/or fine of `20,000 to `50,000. The central
government had asked state governments to develop plans to rescue
and rehabilitate children who are working.
An online portal, https://pencil.gov.in, Platform for Effective
Enforcement for No Child Labour (PENCIL) has become functional in
2017. It is meant for filing of complaint, child tracking, implementation
and monitoring of National Child Labour Project (NCLP).
Chapter 8: Law and Social Justice
Rationalised 2023-24
Within three days, more than
8,000 people were dead.
Hundreds of thousands were
maimed.
Most of those exposed to the poison gas came from poor, working-class
families, of which nearly 50,000 people are today too sick to work. Among
those who survived, many developed severe respiratory disorders, eye
problems and other disorders. Children developed peculiar abnormalities,
like the girl in the photo.
The world’s worst industrial tragedy took place in Bhopal 24 years ago. Union
Carbide (UC) an American company had a factory in the city in which it produced
pesticides. At midnight on 2 December 1984 methyl-isocyanite (MIC) -
a highly poisonous gas - started leaking from this UC plant....
Remembers Aziza Sultan, a survivor: “At
about 12.30 am I woke to the sound of my
baby coughing badly. In the half-light I saw
that the room was filled with a white cloud. I
heard people shouting ‘run, run’. Then I
started coughing, with each breath seeming
as if I was breathing in fire. My eyes were
burning.”
Mass cremations
A child severely affected by the gas
The next morning
Bhopal Gas T Bhopal Gas T Bhopal Gas T Bhopal Gas T Bhopal Gas Tragedy ragedy ragedy ragedy ragedy
Rationalised 2023-24
Read More
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: Law & Social Justice - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is the importance of social justice in law?
Ans. Social justice plays a crucial role in law as it ensures that all individuals in society are treated fairly and equally. It aims to eliminate discrimination and provide equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their social, economic, or cultural background. By promoting social justice, the law seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable society where basic human rights and freedoms are protected.
2. How does the law address issues of social justice?
Ans. The law addresses issues of social justice by enacting legislation and implementing policies that protect the rights and welfare of marginalized and disadvantaged groups. It provides mechanisms for individuals to seek redress and justice when their rights are violated or when they face discrimination. Additionally, the law promotes affirmative action programs, anti-discrimination laws, and access to justice initiatives to ensure social justice is upheld.
3. What are some examples of social justice issues addressed by the law?
Ans. The law addresses various social justice issues, including but not limited to: - Gender equality: Laws prohibiting gender-based discrimination, promoting equal pay, and protecting against sexual harassment. - Racial and ethnic equality: Legislation combating racial discrimination, promoting diversity, and protecting the rights of minority groups. - Access to education and healthcare: Laws ensuring equal access to quality education and healthcare services for all individuals. - LGBTQ+ rights: Legislation protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, including anti-discrimination laws and recognition of same-sex relationships. - Rights of persons with disabilities: Laws promoting accessibility, equal opportunities, and non-discrimination for persons with disabilities.
4. How does social justice contribute to a just society?
Ans. Social justice contributes to a just society by addressing systemic inequalities and promoting fairness. It ensures that all individuals have equal access to opportunities, resources, and basic rights. By reducing disparities and discrimination, social justice fosters a more inclusive and cohesive society where everyone can thrive. It also promotes a sense of social solidarity, as individuals recognize the importance of supporting one another and working towards the common good.
5. How can individuals contribute to social justice?
Ans. Individuals can contribute to social justice in various ways, such as: - Educating themselves: By gaining knowledge about social justice issues and understanding the experiences of marginalized groups, individuals can become better advocates for change. - Supporting organizations: Donating to and volunteering with organizations working towards social justice can make a significant impact in addressing inequality and promoting positive change. - Engaging in activism: Participating in protests, signing petitions, and advocating for policy changes can raise awareness and create pressure for social justice reforms. - Challenging biases and discrimination: Individuals can examine their own biases and actively challenge discriminatory attitudes and behaviors in their personal and professional lives. - Voting and political engagement: By participating in elections and supporting candidates who prioritize social justice, individuals can shape the laws and policies that impact society as a whole.
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