NEW DELHI: on Saturday set aside the decision of the government to revise the for all classes. The court held that Delhi government’s notification of March 2017 on the matter was unconstitutional.
Wryly quoting from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get”, the bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar noted that that the government had processed the notification in a similar manner, and said its “hurried action would set back the entire work force of the city”.
The bench held that the “non-application of mind” by the Minimum Wages Advisory Committee to the relevant considerations “offends Article 14 of the Constitution of India”. The court said the constitution of the committee itself was “flawed”. “Such a flawed committee gave a report that was not based on relevant material, denied fair representation to the employers well as the employees, in fact, without any effort even to gather relevant material and information,” the bench said.
As per the notification, the minimum wages for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labour were fixed at Rs 13,500, Rs 14,698 and Rs 16,182, respectively. Several pleas had been filed by industrial units and companies that employ workers on minimum wages.
The petitioner-employers, who had sought the setting aside of the government order, contended that the government had not heard them before taking the decision. In this regard, the court observed, “Any change in the prescribed rates of minimum wages is bound to impact both the industry and the workmen. The respondents were bound to meaningfully comply with the principles of natural justice especially, the principles of fair play and due process. The representatives of the employers had a legitimate expectation of being heard as the advice of the committee was to inevitably affect them, which has been denied to them before the decision to revise minimum wages was finalised.”
The state government later said it disagreed with the order. tweeted, “Itni mehangai mein humne mazdooron ka vetan badha kar unhe badi rahat di thi. Court ne hamare nirnay ko khaarij kar diya hai. Court ka aadesh padhkar hum aage ki ran niti tay karenge. Gareebon ko rahat dilwaane ke liye hum pratibadh hain.”
Labour minister Gopal Rai’s tweet said, “Gareebon ke liye jung jaari rahegi.”
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