NHRC drags Maya Govt to court over minimum wages
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has dragged the Mayawati Government to the Allahabad High Court over denial minimum wages revision to four categories of brick kiln labourers - nikasiwala, pathera, bharaiwala and chunaiwala.india Updated: Mar 23, 2011 21:15 IST
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has dragged the Mayawati Government to the Allahabad High Court over denial minimum wages revision to four categories of brick kiln labourers - nikasiwala, pathera, bharaiwala and chunaiwala.
The HC has ordered that the State Government to explain as to why the four categories of labourers were denied revised wages. While seeking to know the steps taken to revise the wages in terms of the Minimum Wages Act, the court has fixed March 30, 2011 for further hearing, the NHRC said on Wednesday.
Under Section 3(1)(b) of the Minimum Wages Act, revision of wages has to take place at intervals not exceeding five years. The court observed that it had come across a large number of petitions raising the issue of bonded labour wherein it had issued directions from time to time to seek state government’s response, the Commission said.
The NHRC’s PIL could be politically damaging for the BSP government in Uttar Pradesh, where assembly elections are due in 2012, as it would provide fodder to the opposition to attack chief minister Mayawati.
While enquiring into a complaint of bonded labour, the NHRC had noticed that the Uttar Pradesh Government had not revised the wages of these four categories of brick kiln workers since the August 8, 1990.
In fact the State Government did issue a notification on February 24, 2006 revising the wages of the brick kiln labourers, but the notification was subsequently withdrawn on June 16, 2006 with the result that the poor labourers working in brick kilns were doomed to a state of penury and reduced to the status of bonded labourers.
Following this the NHRC filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Allahabad High Court on March 9, 2011, “To compel the State Government to perform its statutory duty under the Minimum Wages Act.”
The rights body has sought directions to the Uttar Pradesh Government for quashing its June 16, 2006 communication, under which the said four categories of brick kiln were denied the benefit of revised wages.
In April 2010, the NHRC had found 113 brick kilns in Ghaziabad district of the state were not making payments to the labourers as per provisions of the payment of Wages Act, 1936 and Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The Commission had asked the district magistrate to take strict action against the brick kiln owners.New Delhi