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Order on full wages withdrawn: Centre informs Supreme Court

The court asked the government to consider the issues raised by the petitioners with urgency. The court said a lot of people were affected.

The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that it had withdrawn a contentious March 29 order requiring private employers to pay full wages to their workers during the lockdown.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan in a virtual court hearing via videoconferencing, Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal said the May 17 order of the government extending the lockdown also saw the withdrawal of the condition requiring private establishments to pay full wages to their labourers.

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The court asked the government to however put its response in an affidavit and scheduled another hearing after a week. The hearing was based on a bunch of petitions challenging the March 29 order. The petitioners, mostly small businesses, said they were themselves in a precarious position financially due to the lockdown. Payment of full wages to workers during the crippling time was pushing them over the brink into insolvency.

The Bench on Tuesday asked the government to consider the issues raised by the petitioners with urgency. The court said a lot of people were affected.

“Although, notices were issued in these matters but no counter affidavit has yet been filed on behalf of the Union of India… Solicitor General prays for and is granted a week’s time to file counter affidavit to the writ petition(s) to enable the court to know the stand of Union of India on different issues raised in the writ petition(s),” the Bench noted in the order.

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The apex court had on May 15 observed that the March 29 notification was an omnibus order and there was a larger question involved which needed to be answered. It said there may be small industries which are affected due to the lockdown and if they cannot earn, how were they to pay wages to their workers.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 7:14:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/order-on-full-wages-withdrawn-centre-informs-supreme-court/article31678318.ece

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