The relevance of the dignity of human labour and the need for protecting and safeguarding the interest of labour as human beings has been enshrined in Chapter-III (Articles 16, 19, 23 & 24) and Chapter IV (Articles 39, 41, 42, 43, 43A & 54) of the Constitution of India keeping in line with Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.
Labour is a concurrent subject in the Constitution of India implying that both the Union and the state governments are competent to legislate on labour matters and administer the same. The bulk of important legislative acts have been enacted by the Parliament.
The legislations can be categorized as follows-
1) Labour laws enacted by the Central Government, where the Central Government has the sole responsibility for enforcement.
2) Labour laws enacted by Central Government and enforced both by Central and State Governments.
3) Labour laws enacted by Central Government and enforced by the State Governments.
4) Labour laws enacted and enforced by the various State Governments which apply to respective States.
The Constitution of India provides detailed provisions for the rights of the citizens and also lays down the Directive Principles of State Policy which set an aim to which the activities of the state are to be guided. These Directive Principles provide:
a. for securing the health and strength of employees, men and women;
b. that the tender age of children are not abused;
c. that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;
d. just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief are provided; and
e. that the Government shall take steps, by suitable legislation or in any other way, to secure the participation of employee in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organisations engaged in any industry.