The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday issued notice to the Punjab government on a petition challenging the January 15 notification, whereby minimum wages for group-C and group-D employees were fixed.
The high court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Vigilant Citizens Forum, seeking quashing of the notification, alleging that the notification envisaged that payment of fixed remuneration to the employees to be directly recruited against regular posts, from the said date onwards, at minimum of basic pay of the applicable pay scale.
It was argued that the notification was in violation of Article 23 of the Constitution which prohibited exploitation of workers. It was further stated that paltry salaries being given to newly recruited group D and group C employees-were less than the minimum wages fixed by the Punjab labour commissioner for unskilled workers. Unskilled workers get Rs 6,847.75 per month and even labourers engaged in the state under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), comes to Rs 6,300 per month.
It was argued that payment of fixed remuneration to most of categories of group D and group C employees as per the notification were between Rs 4,900 per month to Rs 5,910 per month. The court was told that as per the notification, the doctors were supposed to get Rs 15,600 per month, during initial period of 2 years, which was the reason why newly recruited doctors were not joining their posts.