Madras High Court has dismissed a batch of Writ petitions filed by Management/Employers challenging the revision of minimum wages fixed in respect of tailoring trade in export garments manufacturing industry, hosiery industry, etc.
Division Bench comprising of Justices Huluvadi Ramesh and M.V.Muralidaran, by allowing the Writ appeal filed by state against Interim order of Single bench which had stayed the Government order, has also directed the managements, to comply with the notification issued in Government Order for payment of the revised minimum wages.
The Court observed: “It is to be mentioned here that the last of the revision of minimum wages had taken place in the year 2004. It is not in dispute that the revision of minimum wages has to be done once in 5 years. For one or other reason, due to filing of writ petitions and order of stay granted by this Court, the revision of wage was not carried on from 2004 and only after the last batch of writ petitions having been dismissed during 2012, the Government had restarted the work of revision of minimum wages by consulting the advisory board. Therefore, since 2004 till 2012, for 8 years, the wage has not been revised and in that context if revision had been made at the rate of 8% every year, based on the data available with the Government and in consultation with the Advisory Board by following the procedure prescribed under Section 5 (1) (b) of the Act, the same cannot be said to be unreasonable or unjustified.”
Rejecting the contention of the Employers that principles of Natural Justice were not followed, the Bench observed:“Their representations were considered in consultation with the Advisory Board, where the Chamber of Commerce represented the petitioners before the Advisory Board. Therefore, it cannot be said that there was violation of principles of natural justice as the petitioners were not given an opportunity before passing the final notification. Though it is the stand of the petitioners that representation by the Chamber of Commerce was not effective, however, that would not make the process bad in law. Further, the petitioners having not sent their representation, they cannot, at this distant point of time claim that there is violation of principles of natural justice.”
The Court has, however, granted liberty to the employers/management to submit a representation to the Government as to the difficulties faced by them in payment of the minimum wages as notified and directed the Government to consider the same at the time when revision is contemplated in future and after affording an opportunity of personal hearing to the management.
Read the order here.