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Delhi govt to move SC against HC order on minimum wages

The Delhi HC had on Saturday set aside the AAP government’s March 2017 notification fixing higher minimum wages for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers in the city on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.

delhi Updated: Aug 07, 2018 14:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,AAP govt,Delhi HC
File photo of Delhi labour minister Gopal Rai (L) addressing a press conference. Rai said on Monday that Delhi HC order quashing AAP government order on hiking minimum wages will be challenged in Supreme Court. (Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo )

Delhi labour minister Gopal Rai on Monday said the Aam Aadmi Party government will approach the Supreme Court against the Delhi high court’s decision to quash its notification hiking minimum wages for workers by 37%.

The court had on Saturday set aside the government’s March 2017 notification fixing higher minimum wages for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers in the city on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.

The verdict noted that the decision was made without consulting either employees or employers.

Rai had on Monday held a meeting with officers of his department and studied the court order.

“The Delhi government will challenge the verdict through a special leave petition in the Supreme Court,” Rai told reporters in the Assembly premises.

The minimum wages of unskilled workers were increased from Rs 9,724 to Rs 13,350 per month, for semi-skilled workers from Rs 10,764 to Rs 14,698 and for skilled labourers from Rs 11,830 to Rs 16,182.

Rai said the strategy to be followed by the government in challenging the high court verdict would be discussed with counsels of the department in a meeting on Tuesday. He said the opinion of the trade unions would also be sought on the issue on August 9.

According to the Delhi government standing counsel, Ramesh Singh, the city is home to around 5.5 million unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers.

Rai said the court raised two points -- the decision was made hurriedly and the constitution of the committee was flawed.

“However, the court has not commented on the formula used by the government to hike the minimum wages. The wages were increased after deliberations in at least 17 meetings of two committees over a year,” Rai said.

In its 218-page verdict, the high court had also set aside the September 2016 notification by which a Minimum Wages Advisory Committee for all scheduled employments was set up. The court had observed that its formulation was “completely flawed”.

Rai said, “The committee which recommended revised wages was similar in constitution to a committee that had been formed for revision of dearness allowances (DA).”

The Delhi legislative assembly had initially passed The Minimum Wages (Delhi) Amendment Act in 2016 but it was returned by the Centre, which suggested some changes.

The Bill was reintroduced in August 2017 and was cleared by President Ram Nath Kovind in May this year. The Act stipulated fines ranging from Rs 20,000-50,000 and a jail term of one to three years for employers who did not pay the minimum wage to their employees.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 14:21 IST