Government of NCT of Delhi has filed an Additional Affidavit in the Supreme Court of India containing 532 pages on the Status of the implementation of the Majithia recommendations by newspapers of Delhi. Interestingly, additional affidavit is nearly 20 times bulkier than the previous original Status Report which was full of factual howlers. This additional affidavit has been filed by K.R. Meena, Secretary-Cum-Commissioner (Labour), Government of Delhi.
To be fair to the Government of Delhi, this report is certainly many notches better than the previous one. It correctly says that almost all newspapers and news agencies of Delhi have failed to implement the Award and the worst culprits are Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar. The affidavit of the Labour Commissioner has thoroughly exposed the duplicity and gimmickry of these two newspapers, who have exercised upside down to obtain the signatures of the employees under Section- 20J of the Wage Board. The report says, ‘The 20(j) documents as submitted by Dainik Jagarn are not on the official letter head and a general declaration for accepting the existing emoluments is followed by taking signatures of all the employees many of which are not even working in Delhi. It was further submitted that the feedback given by some of the employees at the time of inspections and subsequently during the visits of Dainik Jagran staff in the office of Dy. Commissioner (Labour) goes on to show that the recommendations of Majithia Wage Board have not been implemented by Dainik Jagran. Some of the employees have informed that they have been forced to sign the declaration under Section – III, clause 20(j). On 15.10.2015 & 20.10.2015 the premises of the newspaper establishment was visited again by the deponent / other officials and a notice was served on Sh. Sanjay Gupta, CEO of the company but the management has again provided partial information. The other vital information such as list of contractual employees, retired employees etc. was not given which clearly establishes that the recommendations of the Board have not been implemented by the said Newspaper Establishment. The Management was again given notice on 28/10/2015 and was asked to clarify whether their employees have exercised their option under Section 3 clause 20(j) of the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Board because some of the employees have sworn on affidavit that they have not given any declaration under Section 20(j) and also to clarify whether the agency’s gross revenue is more than Rs. 1,000/- crore and can be classified in Category-I. But the Management has failed to file their reply and also failed to produce statutory records. In view of the above, the Inspector has concluded that the management has failed to implement the recommendations of Majithia Wage Board.’
With regard to Dainik Bhaskar the report says that ‘It is also submitted that the feedback from received by the Inspectors at the time of inspections and subsequently during the visits of Dainik Bhaskar staff in the office of Dy. Commissioner (Labour) also goes on to show that the Majithia Wage Board has not been implemented by Management of Dainik Bhaskar. Hence, the management is trying to project deceptively that they are covered under the Section III Clause 20 (j) and therefore, the Inspector has concluded that M/s Dainik Bhaskar has not implemented the recommendations of Majithia Wage Board.
Although some newspapers like ‘The Tribune’, ‘The Hindu’, ‘Deccan Herald’, ‘Bennet Colman Company Publishers of the Times of India, The Economic Times and the Nav Bharat Times’ and the ‘Press Trust of India’ have claimed to have implemented the Majithia Wage Board Award yet the Labour Commissioner has stated in his report that these organisations have also been found to be wanting in proper implementation of the Award. In its action taken report the Labour Commissioner has said that prosecution cases have been filed against many newspapers including against Deccen Herald, The Hindu, The Tribune, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar and the Press Trust of India.
The previous report has said that the prosecution against newspapers like the Hindustan Times, The Pioneer, The Indian Express and the India Today etc. have already been initiated.
The most notable part of the report is the mention about the bill passed by the Assembly of Delhi on 3rd December 2015 proposing amendment in the Working Journalists Act, which provides for compensation up to 5 times of the amount of wages due to the employee in case a claim is filed under section 17(1) of the Act. It also provides for more stringent penal action including imprisonment and enhanced fine for the effective deterrence for the violators of the Act.
Secretary General – IFWJ