Karnataka High Court relief for daily wage workers

A view of High Court of Karnataka. File Photo.  

The actions of the State government in curtailing, through Government Orders and circulars, the benefits of Dearness Allowance (DA) and earned leave available to employees covered under the Karnataka Daily Wage Employees Welfare Act, 2012, amount to “tail wagging the dog and not the dog wagging the tail”, said the High Court of Karnataka.

The court declared that daily wage employees who are covered under the Act were entitled to DA at 100%, as is admissible to regular government employees, and to the earned leave benefit of 30 days annually, as per the Act.

“The soul of the Act being the grant of a better wage and social security on cessation of long public service to a daily wage employee, cannot be reduced to a rope of sand,” the court observed.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna delivered the verdict while disposing of petitions, filed on behalf of several daily wage employees, by the federation of all employees appointed under the provisions of the Karnataka Daily Wage Employees Welfare Act.

On govt. actions

The Act, which treats the employees covered under it “on a par with government employees” on benefits such as pay and leave, “cannot be rendered illusory by the subsequent actions of the government either in issuing Government Orders contrary to the Act or amending the rules...,” the court said. “It is trite that administrative instructions in the form of official memoranda/circular/Government Order cannot run counter to the Act or in effect control the Act. This, if permitted, would amount to tail wagging the dog and not the dog wagging the tail.”

The court declared that the Government Order issued on January 10, 2020, restricting DA to 90% of the admissible DA, and the circular issued on July 12, 2017, discontinuing the earned leave of 30 days and relating to recovering the leave encashment allowed in the past to daily wage employees, stand obliterated of their value as they run counter to the Act.

Also, the court held that daily wage employees were also entitled to payment of ex gratia in terms of the Act as determined by the government from time to time.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 11:08:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-high-court-relief-for-daily-wage-workers/article34800948.ece

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