The Supreme Court of India today issued a bailable warrant of arrest against the Labour Commissioner of Uttarakhand for noncompliance of the order of the court. The police will have to ensure his presence in the Court on the next date of hearing i.e. 4th of October 2016. The Chief Secretary and the Labour Commissioner of the State have also been directed to file a detail report with regard the implementation of the Majithia Award before the next date of hearing. The Labour Commissioners of all other four states i.e. Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur were physically present along with the Standing Counsel of their respective states in the court room to reply to the queries of Supreme Court.
The bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice P.C. Pant gave a stern warning to the Management of Dainik Jagran to implement the Majithia Award in its letter and spirit otherwise the court will be constrained to send them to jail. Justice Gogoi made it clear that no newspaper management can hide behind Section 20J of the Majithia Award. It may be mentioned here that the ‘Indian Federation of Working Journalists’ and its counsel have been saying from the very beginning that no management can escape the rigour of the contempt of court on the pretext of section 20J. The Supreme Court has today cleared all smokescreens that was sought to be created by the newspaper owners on 20J. Justice Gogoi told it in a very specific term that 20J will be applicable only for those employees who are being paid more than what the Majithia Award has recommended but where the employees are getting less than that, any agreement of contract made by the managements by the employees will be null and void.
Thus there is no alternative left for the crooked and cunning managements, particularly of the Dainik Jagran, Rajasthan Patrika and Dainik Bhaskar, but to implement the Award and make the payment of wages and arrears to all eligible employees. The Working Journalists Act does not make any difference between regular and contractual employees and therefore, the Majithia Award will be applicable for all employees from 11.11.2011.
In the meantime, the employees are advised to immediately make a complaint before the Labour Commissioner of their respective states in respect of the non-payment of the wages, allowances and arrears as per the Award. Such employees are also advised to send a copy their complaints to their respective lawyers in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court made it clear to the Labour Commissioners they would work on the authority of the Supreme Court to seek any/ all information, documents reports etc. from the managements of the newspapers and they can also conduct surprise visits to the newspaper premises if they feel necessary to ascertain the facts from the managements and the employees.