The Supreme Court asked the Centre on Monday to put on record the Ministry of Home Affairs' notification that directs private companies to pay full salary to employees during the lockdown period. This decision came after multiple firms moved the Supreme Court against the MHA notification.
The Bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai passed the order and sought Centre's response within two weeks, as mentioned in Live Law.
The petitions were filed by Mumbai-based Nagreeka Exports, Ficus Px Ltd, a Karnataka-based packaging company and Ludhiana Hand Tools Association. Nagreeka, the first petitioner withdrew its petition citing conflict of submissions.
Ficus Pax challenged the constitutional validity of the MHA order stating that these two notifications were "arbitrary, illegal, irrational, unreasonable and contrary to the provisions of law including Article 14 and Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India."
The company stated that before the lockdown it had 176 permanent and 939 contract workers and that it had paid the wages to all workers for the month of March. It argued that such a notification can turn an "otherwise stable and solvent industrial establishment, especially an MSME establishment, into insolvency and loss of control of business."
Ludhiana Hand Tools Association challenged the constitutional validity of the order and said that it must be "struck down". It argued that one-sided implementation of a contract alone is not permitted "since the relationship between employer and employee consists of reciprocal promises wherein payment can be enforced only against consideration of performing work."
The MHA order had said, "All the employers, be it in the industry or in the shops and commercial establishments shall make payment of wages of their workers at their work places, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown."
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