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Plea In SC Challenges Validity Of Government Order Directing 100% Payment Of Wages During Lockdown By Commercial Establishments [Read Petition]

Sanya Talwar
18 April 2020 9:22 AM GMT
Plea In SC Challenges Validity Of Government Order Directing 100% Payment Of Wages During Lockdown By Commercial Establishments [Read Petition]
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A petition has been initiated in the Supreme Court for quashing of Government Order (GO) dated March 29 and March 31, 2020 to the extent of the direction to pay full salary to staff, contract workers, casual workers and other workers during the period of lockdown, even though factories are not operational."...challenging the constitutional validity of Government Order dated March 29, 2020,...

A petition has been initiated in the Supreme Court for quashing of Government Order (GO) dated March 29 and March 31, 2020 to the extent of the direction to pay full salary to staff, contract workers, casual workers and other workers during the period of lockdown, even though factories are not operational.

"...challenging the constitutional validity of Government Order dated March 29, 2020, being N0.40-3/2020-DMI( A) issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, under section 10(2XI) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 only to limited extent of additional measure in clause iii, being "All the employers, be it in the industry or in the shops and commercial establishments, shall make payment of wages of their workers, at their work places, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during lockdown period. "

The petitioner, Nagreeka Exports Limited is engaged in manufacture and export of cotton yarns, fabric & textiles and has contended that as there is no revenue generation during the period of lockdown, it has become impossible for the petitioner to pay approximately 1400 workmen and 150 employees.

"Petitioner needs to incur approximately Rs. 1.75 Crores. But these directions has caused constellation to a large number of employers in the country, despite their best intentions for and efforts towards, supporting their employees during this period of crises" the petition reads.

The petitioner highlights the hardships faced by factory owners and states that even though he had paid wages in full for the month of March 2020, even though operations were completely shut down during the last week of part, it is "virtually impossible" for the petitioner to continue to bear the cost of the salary of its employees.

While emphasising on the urgency of the issue, the petitioner states that non-compliance of the G.O. has serious implications on him and that he bound to face penal consequences for the same, as contemplated under Disaster Management Act, 2005.

The petitioner goes on to question the reasonability of the directions given by the Government and contends "whether intelligent care and deliberation" were given to the G.O.'s.

Further, the petitioner, inter alia, puts forth important questions of law such as whether the Government of India and Maharashtra is empowered to issue directions to private establishments to pay 100% wages under Disaster Management Act 2005 and whether the compulsory payment of wages to all workers, without deductions is feasible.

In this backdrop, the petitioner has contended the constitutional validity of the Government orders vis-à-vis Articles 14 & 19 of the Constitution.

"It is a well settled law that to satisfy the constitutional test of permissibility, two conditions must be satisfied, namely (i) that the classification is founded on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from others left out of the group , and (ii) that such differentia has a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved." the petition states.

Therefore, the petitioner seeks directions for payment of wages at "50% of the basic pay plus DA to its workers/employees (without payment of PF and ESIC contributor as the same is not wages) as this will give more money in the hands of workmen."

The petition has been filed by Advocate-on-Record Krishan Kumar.

Click Here To Download Petition

[Read Petition]





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