ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Pre-decided Maruti Suzuki Case

The Peoples Union for Democratic Rights report on the Maruti Suzuki case judgment says that it is illustrative of the anti-worker bias entrenched in the law and order machinery. The prosecution’s brief in the case involving the violence at the Manesar plant in July 2012 was riddled with discrepancies, but 31 workers were convicted—13 of them sentenced to life imprisonment—based on the testimonies of the management personnel, says the report.

On 10 March 2017, the Additional Sessions Judge Rajinder Pal Goyal at the Gurugram Sessions Court pronounced the judgment in the Maruti Suzuki case convicting 31 workers (13 with life imprisonment), while acquitting 117 others. This case was related to an incident of violence and arson that occurred on 18 July 2012 at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant in which one of the human resource managers unfortunately lost his life. Barring one, all the acquitted workers had spent two to four years in jail, before being released on bail. The 13 workers who were given life imprisonment sentences included all the 12 office-bearers of the erstwhile union and one worker. The workers had managed to get their union, the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU), registered in March 2012 after a prolonged struggle just three and a half months prior to the incident.1 Appeals by the workers against conviction and by the state for increasing the punishment to death penalty are pending in the high court.

This conviction has grave implications not just for the Maruti Suzuki workers or for those in the automobile industry alone, but for the rights of workers across the country struggling to form unions in order to collectively fight the autocratic hold of corporate managements. It is a boost for not just Maruti Suzuki, but for capitalists at large. Maruti Suzuki is the largest automobile manufacturer in India with more than 50% market share in this sector. The automobile industry together with the automobile ancillary industry makes up 22% of India’s manufacturing industry. Having been closely associated with the Maruti workers’ struggle since 2000, the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) decided to examine this process and the judgment of the trial court.2 What follows is a summary of its report, “A Pre-decided Case: A Critique of the Maruti Judgment of 2017.”

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Updated On : 21st Jun, 2018
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