Generally speaking there has been a relative dearth of serious scholarship focusing on the evolution of Indian labour law in its economic, social, and political contexts. Such work as there is tends to be constituted of fragmented and short journal articles and notes, including those by labour economists and industrial relations scholars. The present work undertakes a survey of the literature in the field, examining first the various periods through which Indian labour law has evolved up to the present time, and second the extent to which the labour law system can be seen to have fulfilled its two core objectives: the protection of labour and the maintenance of industrial peace. The survey reveals that Indian labour law in the formal sense has very little purchase in terms of its application in pursuit of its objects. This, in turn, suggests that some other approach is required to reach a more grounded and accurate understanding of how, and to what effect, labour is regulated in India.