Delhi HC sets aside AAP govt’s minimum wages order as invalid and hurried

Delhi HC sets aside AAP govt’s minimum wages order as invalid and hurried
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NEW DELHI: In a blow to the AAP government, its much-touted March 2017 order revising the minimum wages for all classes of workmen in scheduled employment was on Saturday quashed by the Delhi High Court which said the “hurried” decision was taken without hearing the employers or employees who would be affected and was violative of the Constitution .
In its 218-page verdict, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also set aside a September 2016 notification by which a Minimum Wages Advisory Committee for all scheduled employments was set up, saying that its constitution was “completely flawed”.
The court noted that though the revision of wages “is sorely needed”, the “hurried attempt” and “contravening principles of natural justice has unfortunately disrupted this course, yet again” and referred to a line from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol — ‘The hurrier I go, the behinder I get’.The bench, however, also said that the fixation of minimum wages in Delhi cannot be faulted simply because they are higher than the rates of minimum wages fixed in surrounding states and towns.The “flawed” Committee “gave a report which was not based on relevant material, denied fair representation to the employers as well as the employees, in fact without any effort even to gather relevant material and information. The government (of Delhi) decision based on such advice in violation of express statutory provision and principles of natural justice as well as to the prejudice of employers as well as employees is unsustainable.“Given the detailed factual narrative, the law and the failure of the Committee as well as the respondents to comport to the same, we have no manner of doubt that the exercise of power by the respondents (Delhi government) was not reasonable and was manifestly arbitrary. The same has to be struck down as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” the court said.The bench said an attempt to constitute the committee in April 2016 had already “disrupted the course of wage revision once”. “Alas, even though the revision is sorely needed, the hurried attempt again, inter alia failing to comport with binding the statutory requirements, without relevant material and contravening principles of natural justice has unfortunately disrupted this course,