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SUPREME COURT QUASHED ORDER BY MHA TO PAY FULL SALARIES TO THEIR EMPLOYEES

May 19, 2020 04:23 PM

  Chandigarh/New Delhi (Sanjay Mishra)

Supreme Court  finally quashed the order issued by the Ministry Home Affairs vide which they asked industries to pay full salaries to their employees for the whole lockdown period. The court has ordered central government not to take any action against private companies who unable to pay the full salaries to their workers for the lock down period.

The judgement came against a writ petition filed by Nagreeka Exports Limited, Maharashtra based firm ,Ludhiana Hand Tools Association, Punjab based firm and Ficus Pax Private Limited, Karnataka Based Firm, who had challenged the constitutional validity of a March 20 notification issued by the Labour Secretary and clause III of the March 29 notification issued by the Home Ministry, both of which compelled every private companies for payment of full wages to its employees during the whole period of lockdown.

The company had argued that said orders mandating full salary payment to workers violated Articles 14 and 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution of India, which refer to equality before law and right to practise any profession, trade or occupation, respectively.Further stated that the order was in contravention of the principles of 'Equal Work, Equal Pay' and 'No Work, No Pay', as it doesn't differentiate between the workers who are working and non-working during lockdown.Court observed "How long can the government expect companies to pay?" a three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who sought further time to respond to the petition.

The company had argued that said orders mandating full salary payment to workers violated Articles 14 and 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution of India, which refer to equality before law and right to practise any profession, trade or occupation, respectively.

Further stated that the order was in contravention of the principles of 'Equal Work, Equal Pay' and 'No Work, No Pay', as it doesn't differentiate between the workers who are working and non-working during lockdown.

Court observed "How long can the government expect companies to pay?" a three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who sought further time to respond to the petition.

The bench said there may be so many small industries, which are also affected due to the lockdown as they can sustain for say 15 odd days but not more and if they cannot earn, how are they going to pay their workers. It further added that the Centre can't prosecute firms if they are unable to pay salaries.

"It is implicit in the fundamental right of an employer to trade or business that there is an obligation to pay when work is actually done and there is no obligation if no work is done," the Supreme Court said.

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