The reports of Special Labour Inspectors appointed by the State Governments on the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its order of 28.04.2015 to find out the status of the implementation of the Majithia Award in newspapers has now started trickling in. Sikkim has been the first Government, which sent its report through its Chief Secretary almost a month ago.
Given the alacrity shown by the Government of NCT of Delhi, it was expected that it would take the lead in filing the report but unfortunately, it is proving to be a laggard. Frankly speaking, all eyes are set on Delhi because most of the important newspapers come out from the national capital and it would interesting to know that how these big newspapers send the law and law enforcers on holiday.
There are four main newspapers in Punjab namely; the Punjab Kesari, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar and the Ajit. However, none of these four major newspapers has implemented the Award. This has been stated in the affidavit of the Labour Commissioner of Punjab Harbhupinder Singh Nanda submitted in the Supreme Court of India with an advance copy to the undersigned.
Thus, the Punjab has become the second state, which has filed its report, which provides very revealing and startling information. It says that there are 531 newspaper establishments, which are regularly functioning from the State of Punjab. Out of these 442 are self-managed by the owners, as they do not employ anybody. Out of the rest 89 establishments, only four have implemented and they are H.T. Media Ltd. of Mohali having 94 employees on rolls and the other three are the Chardikala of Patiala, and the Tribune of Jalandhar and Bhatinda with 14, 59 and 18 employees respectively.
One fact is, nevertheless, incontrovertible that almost all newspapers either have withheld the information or have given false information. Surprisingly, the State Government has not initiated any action against any of the erring newspapers so far. As far as the H.T. Media Ltd., the publisher of the important daily, The Hindustan Times, is concerned, it has fed very wrong information to the Inspectors about the number of employees, the revenue of the newspaper and its classification etc; and the state officials have, no wonder, accepted them without any demur.
Now the onerous responsibility has fallen on the journalists and non-journalists working for different newspapers of Punjab to debunk and nail the lies of the newspaper proprietors particularly of the H.T. Media Ltd., which is out to throw dust rather chilli powder in the eyes of all, the workers, the public, the administration and the judiciary. Let the truth prevail. Sikkim has stated that there is no newspaper in the state, where the Majithia Award could be applicable and this appears to be ex facie correct.