The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought to know the stand of Arvind Kejriwal led- AAP government on a petition seeking enforcement of statutory minimum wages.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal issued notice to the Delhi government on a PIL filed by NGO Social Jurist through advocate and social activist Ashok Agarwal seeking enforcement of current statutory rates of minimum wages to benefit 60 lakh workers.
The Bench asked the government to file its response within a week and listed the cases for hearing on August 8.
"The ground realities are very shocking. On average male worker gets 6000 per month (pm) and female worker gets 5000 pm whereas the statutory rate of minimum wages for an unskilled worker is 13584 pm. Employers are enjoying interim orders granted by this Court and 60 lakh workers are deprived of minimum wages," argued Mr Agarwal.
The petition highlights how unreasonably low minimum wages is adding to the woes of the workers who fail to meet the basic needs of their families.
On March 3, 2017, the Delhi government had issued the notification fixing the minimum wages of workers at an unreasonably lower rate and brought it down further vide another notification in May.
“The failure of the government to provide for minimum wages has also violated the fundamental right of the workers to life. The present writ petition highlights the sorrow state of affairs prevailing in Delhi with regard to the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of minimum wages and points out its apathetic and indifferent attitude,” said Mr Agarwal.
He shared how not even a single employer has been prosecuted in last three years for non-payment of minimum wages even as the average wage workers receive from their employers is almost half of the current minimum wages.