Big Victory for Delhi’s Working Class: SC rules Increased Minimum Wages to Continue

In a big victory for the working class of Delhi, a 3-member bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice SK kaul & Justice KM Joseph has provided an interim relief to the workers and has ruled the increased minimum wages to continue. SC has put a stay on the judgment of the Delhi High Court on the issue that had quashed Delhi Government’s notification revising the minimum wages.

The Delhi High Court was hearing the plea filed by employers — associations of traders, petrol dealers and restaurants — who had challenged two notifications— one issued in September, 2016 reconstituting the Minimum Wages Advisory Committee for all classes of workmen/employees in all scheduled employments.

The Delhi HC bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar further opined that the impugned notification suffered from “non-application of mind”, was not based on any material and violated principles of natural justice.

It had also declared the constitution of the Minimum Wages Advisory Committee for all scheduled employments by the Government as ultra vires Sections 5(1) and 9 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, opining that the formation of this committee was “completely flawed.”

Many establishments in Delhi including the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) had not taken back the increase in wages, but also had started collecting arrears from the workers. In such a background, this SC order is a big victory for the workers of Delhi. The court has ordered Delhi government to make all technical arrangement in the next 3 months. Further, in a heartening development SC has agreed to make CITU Delhi State Committee one of the parties in the case (through the state president Virendra Gaur).

It needs to be remembered that the revised minimum wages were not a result of the benevolence of the AAP. It was the outcome of long and arduous struggle of the trade union movement in Delhi. A class conscious and militant trade union movement will ensure that this notification is implemented in letter and spirit.

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