Kar HC | Denial of overtime pay to an employee amounts to infringement of Articles 23 and 300-A of the Constitution of India

Karnataka High Court: Krishna S. Dixit, J. allowed a writ petition praying for quashing of a circular whereby overtime dues were denied to employees of the respondent.

The petitioner herein was not granted an allowance for the overtime job done by him, and aggrieved thereby he filed the present writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the impugned circular.

The respondent resisted the writ petition banking upon the impugned circular.

The Court opined that the impugned circular contained a strange reason for variability for denying the overtime allowance. Thus, it did not have the force of law, nor justification. It was held that a legal claim of an employee cannot be negated by quoting such a circular.

The Court further opined that withholding the amount payable amounted to acquiring property sans compensation, therefore, the same is violative of Article 300-A of the Constitution of India.

Reliance was placed on the case of State of Gujarat v. High Court of Gujarat, (1998) 7 SCC 392, where the right of sentence serving prisoners to wages for the work done in prison was recognized and denial of overtime allowance was held to be an infringement of Article 23 of the Constitution of India.

In view of the above, the writ petition was allowed and the impugned circular was quashed; holding that the amount payable for the overtime is ascertainable and variability spoken of by the circular offends law, reason and logic.

The Court directed the respondent to consider and grant the allowance to the petitioner within a period of eight weeks and held that any delay in payment of the allowance would amount to an additional payment of Rs 20,000 by the respondent to the petitioner.[G.M. Poovaiah v. KSRTC, WP No. 2463 of 2015, decided on 28-11-2019]

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