The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the Deputy Labour Commissioner of the Union Ministry of Labour to submit by April 3 a report on details of contract labourers directly or indirectly working on the metro rail project in the city and how the benefits under the various labour welfare laws have been extended to them.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued the directions while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Samuel Sathyaseelan, a social worker. The petition highlighted lack of facilities and the unhygienic living conditions of the labourers, though they are entitled to facilities as per law.

Noticing the pictures of temporary sheds provided for the workers annexed to the petition, the Bench orally observed that “looking at the photographs it appears that they stay in poor living conditions.” Pointing out that these labourers are working on the city’s infrastructure, the Bench asked advocate Sinchana, who appeared on behalf of the Assistant Solicitor-General of India representing the Union government, to ensure that the Deputy Labour Commissioner submits a detailed report in this regard.

The Ministry has to inform the court how the welfare provisions in various the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act; Inter-State Migrant Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service), Act and others; Building and Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act; Payment of Wages Act; Workmen Compensation Act; and Minimum Wages Act were being enforced by the BMRCL and its contractors.

Empire Hotel

In another case, the Bench dismissed a PIL petition filed by some residents of Jayanagar 3rd Block against a Empire Hotel outlet in their area claiming that it was a residential zone.

However, the hotel pointed out to the court that the area was classified as a Commercial (Retail) Zone in Comprehensive Development Plan 1995 and it continues to be Commercial Zone even in Revised Master Plan 2015. Observing that there was no impediment for a restaurant in the area, the Bench dismissed the petition.