Calcutta High Court orders labour department to initiate action against jute mill owners for non-payment of lockdown wages
24 June 2020: A division bench headed by justice T.B.N Radhakrishnan of the Calcutta High Court ordered the state labour department to initiate legal action against jute mill owners on account of non-payment of wages for the lockdown period to workers. The decision came after repeated violations of the order passed by the labour commissioner directing employer to ensure timely and full payment of wages to jute mill workers.
Delhi High Court seeks reply from government on violation of payment of minimum wages to jail inmates
16 June 2020: Hearing a petition filed by jail inmates regarding violation of payment of minimum wages, Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the government seeking its response on the matter. Inmates are being paid at the old rates decided in 2014 which stand at Rs 361, Rs 328 and Rs 297 per day for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled categories, respectively which after deduction of maintenance cost came to Rs 171, Rs 138 and Rs 107 per day. In 2019 the rates were revised by Delhi government to Rs 652, Rs 592 and Rs 538 per day, respectively, which would amount to Rs 308, Rs 248 and Rs 194 per day after deduction of maintenance cost. Government has been given one month to file its reply in the matter.
Supreme Court orders states to drop charges against migrant workers
16 June 2020:A three-judge bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre, states and Union Territories to drop cases registered against migrant workers who were forced to walk back home due to job loss during the countrywide lockdown for violating the provisions of The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. Supreme Court also ordered the Centre and State governments to identify such workers who wanted to return home and arrange for Shramik special trains for them free of cost within 15 days. It further ordered the railways to provide Shramik trains within 24 hours of any state seeking their services in addition to the 171 Shramik trains requested by states up until now.
Supreme Court orders no action against employers who do not comply to MHA order on payment of wages
12 June 2020: Hearing the cases filed by employers against the Ministry of Home Affairs order dated 29 March 2020 directing employers to pay wages to workers for the period of lockdown the Supreme Court on 12 June 2020 passed an interim order in the favour of the employers. It ruled that no coercive action should be initiated against employers who do not pay wages for the period of 50 days during which the MHA order was in effect (MHA had reverted its 29 March order on18 May 2020). Supreme Court further noted that payment of wages for the lockdown period should be negotiated between employers and employees and employers should file an affidavit giving details of such negotiation to the court. In case the parties are unable to settle the matter by themselves a request to concerned labour authorities can be submitted who would then conciliate the dispute.
Delhi High Court pulls up government for delaying renewal of construction workers registration
05 June 2020: A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar rapped the Delhi government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare (BOCWW) Board for its laxity in ensuring workers receive the benefits of welfare schemes run by the board. The board has so far disbursed Rs 19.8 crore to 39,600 workers while over 5 lakh workers are awaiting renewal of their registration with the board. The bench sought status regarding the steps taken to renew the registration of over 5 lakh construction workers and to initiate the process of registration of new applicants who have produced themselves for physical verification. BOCWW received over 17,000 applications for new registrations between 15 May -2 June 2020. Court has granted six days to the government to file its response in the matter.