COVID-19| No coercive action till June 12 against employers for non-payment of full wages

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah, JJ has extended the interim relief in the batch of petitions challenging clause (iii) of the Ministry of Home Affairs order dated March 29, 2020 directing the industries, shops and commercial establishments to pay full salary/wages to all its staff, workers, contract workers, casual workers during the period of lockdown.

Listing the matter on June 12, the Court directed,

“In the meantime, no coercive action, against the employers, shall be taken pursuant to notification dated 29.03.2020.”

This order also clears the air on the confusion created by the May 15 orders in about 15 petitions where the Court, granted interim relief in two of the petitions, namely, by Hand Tools Manufacturers Association and Indian Jute Mills Association [WP (Civil) Diary No(s). 11281/2020] and directed that “no coercive action shall be taken in the meantime”. However, no such relief was granted to other petitioners like Ficus Pax Private Limited [WP (CIVIL) Diary No(s). 10983/2020], Ludhiana Hand Tools Association [WP (Civil) Diary No(s). 10993/2020], Twin City Industrial Employers Association [WP(Civil) Diary No(s). 11018/2020], etc.

The May 15 orders in all 15 matters were silent on whether the direction is In Rem or In Personem especially since the Court granted this relief in 2 petitions and denied this relief in 13 petitions. The direction of granting relief in 2 matters simply stated:

“No coercive action shall be taken in the meanwhile.”

The direction in the present order, the Court has clearly mentioned the term ’employers’ and it is safe to say that the said order extends to all employers.

[Ficus Pax Private Limited v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 481 , order dated 04.06.2020]


Also read:

MHA order dated 29.03.2020

Order dated 15.05.2020 granting interim relief in Hand Tools Manufacturers Association’s case

Fact Check: Did the Supreme Court pass any order staying MHA Order dated 29-03-2020 directing private companies to make full payments to their employees?

 

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