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|March 25, 1999||
Krishna Iyer calls for referendum on India joining WTO
Retired Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer has blamed successive central governments for bypassing Parliament while signing up for membership of the World Trade Organisation.
At a media conference in New Delhi today, Justice Krishna Iyer called for judicial intervention to "undo the unconstitutional act".
He was speaking on behalf of the National Campaign Committee, which organised its national convention in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Justice Krishna Iyer, who was recently conferred the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, also called for a national debate and a "referendum" on the WTO issue.
It is regrettable that no public-interest petition had been filed so far in this regard in the apex court, he said.
Justice Krishna Iyer said the Election Commission could hold the referendum if all political parties make such a request.
"It is unfortunate that our government has made our laws subordinate to the WTO."
He questioned how the calling of global tenders even for construction of roads in the country could help revive the Indian economy. He wondered how employment would be generated for millions of unorganised sector workers losing jobs because of the new economic policies.
Justice Krishna Iyer demanded that central laws on construction labour be amended to include the Construction Labour Board to ensure employment, compulsory registration of all employees and workers, provision of insurance, provident fund, maternity benefit, creches, housing, compulsory registration of accidents and safety measures at the workplaces.
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