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Payment of Wages amid COVID-19:

The order was passed by a Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah.

 

The three-judge Bench reserved its orders on June 4, while directing that no coercive action be taken against employers with respect to the MHA notification.

 
The Court was hearing a number of petitions including the one filed by Karnataka-based company Ficus Pax, challenging the constitutional validity of the March 20 notification of the Secretary (Labour & Employment) and Clause III of the March 29 notification by the MHA, both of which compelled payment of full wages to workers and employees during the period of lockdown.

The MHA order of March 29 had said that,

 

"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 workplaces, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown."

 

Advocate Jeetender Gupta, appearing for Ficus Pax, had argued that the Labour Ministry's advisory asking establishments not to terminate employees or reduce their salaries, was not passed under the Disaster Management Act.

 

Ludhiana Hand Tools Association, through Advocate-on-Record Rajeev M Roy, stated that the March 29 MHA order was violative of Articles 14, 19(1)(g), 265 and 300 of the Constitution, and thus must be “struck down.”

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Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, appearing in one of the cases, said that the MHA’s direction should not be quashed and that workers needed to be paid full wages for the period of the lockdown.

 

Jaising had primarily argued that the principle of no work no pay is not applicable in the present circumstances, especially when there is lockdown, as the workers cannot work even if they want to.

Source : Bar&Bench