'No coercive action against firms for non-payment of wages during lockdown': SC asks Centre to reply within 4 weeks
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Friday gave a huge relief to private firms, saying that "no coercive action will be taken" against those industries which have failed to pay full wages during lockdown period.
A bench which included Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah said that "industries and labourers need each other and efforts should be made to resolve dispute over wage payments".
The bench also asked the Centre to file an affidavit within four weeks on legality of March 29 circular that mandated payment of full wages during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The apex court also asked the state governments to facilitate settlement between firms and employees over wage payment, submit reports before labour commissioners.
"We directed no coercive action to be taken against employers. Our earlier orders will continue. A detailed affidavit has to be filed by Centre in last week of July. Negotiation between employees and employers to be facilitated by State Government labour departments," news agency ANI quoted Justice Bhushan as saying.
The bench, however, also noted that workers who are willing to work should be allowed to work notwithstanding disputes regarding wages and emphasised that "piecemeal consideration" cannot be made, adding that the Centre and state governments should circulate court order through labour departments to facilitate settlements.
The apex court later said that it will hear the matter again in the last week of July after the Centre files its reply.
Small Scale Industries Association and several private firms including Ludhiana Hand Tools Association, Ficus Pax and others had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the central government's order which had asked all employers to make full payment of wages to their employees without any deduction for the period their establishments were under closure during the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown.
While requesting the top court to dispose of as infructuous the batch of pleas challenging the March 29 notification, the government had said the "impugned notifications have outlived their life and adjudication of the same would only entail an academic exercise as it would not be in the interest of the public to seek recovery of salaries paid to employees and workers for the said 54 days".
(With inputs from agencies)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma