Justice P.N. Bhagawati held as follows…
Bandhua Mukti Morcha Vs Union of India and Ors on 16 Dec 1983
It is the fundamental right of every one in this Country, assured under the interpretation given to Article 21 by this Court in Francis Mullen’s case, to live with human dignity, free from exploitation. This right to live with human dignity, enshrined in Article 21 derives its life breath from the Directive Principles of State Policy and particularly clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39 and Article 41 and 42 and at the least, therefore, it must include protection of the health and strength of workers men and women, and of the tender age of children against abuse, opportunities and facilities for children to develop in healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity, educational facilities, just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief. These are the minimum requirements which must exist in order to enable a person to live with human dignity and no State neither the Central Government nor any State Government-has the right to take any action which will deprive a person of the enjoyment of these basic essentials. Since the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39, Article 41 and 42 are not enforceable in a court of law, it may not be possible to compel the State through the judicial process to make provision by statutory enactment or executive fiat for ensuring these basic essentials which go to make up a life of human dignity but where legislation is already enacted by the State providing these basic requirements to the workmen and thus investing their right to live with basic human dignity, with concrete reality and content, the State can certainly be obligated to ensure observance of such legislation for inaction on the part of the State in securing implementation of such legislation would amount to denial of the right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21, more so in the context of Article 256 which provides that, the executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State.
Citations : [1984 AIR SC 802], [1984 SCC 3 161], [1984 SCR 2 67], [1983 SCALE 2 1151], [1984 SCC L&S 389], [1984 LABIC 560], [1984 LLN 2 60], [1984 UJ 16 29], [1984 AIR 802], [1984 LAB IC 560]
Other Sources :
List of other case laws around Article 21 are here.