Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: S.J. Kathawalla, J., directed CIDCO to pay the Gardeners working for them their unpaid earned wages.

Petition has been filed on behalf of the Gardeners working for Respondent 1 –City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO).

Petitioners have urged for payment of wages which are outstanding from January-2020at the rate payable to permanent workers in unskilled category alongwith interest at commercial rate and to also provide essential service ID Cards to the members of the Petitioner, to enable them to reach their place of work without facing any difficulties, and also provide them with masks and gloves to protect themselves whilst they are outdoors.

CIDCO has not only failed to extend all benefits of permanency with effect from 1st December, 2012 to the concerned workmen, but has also deprived the concerned workmen of their earned wages since January, 2020.

Therefore, despite the Court orders being in their favour and despite them having continued to work during the pandemic Covid-19, CIDCO compelled the concerned workmen to survive on charity i.e. the ration provided by NGOs and social workers.

Court observed that

on 13th January, 2017, an Award has been passed by the Industrial Tribunal, Thane, in Reference (ID) No. 61 of 2012, directing that the concerned workmen be absorbed as permanent employees of CIDCO with all benefits of permanency with effect from 1st December, 2012.

Thus, CIDCO is certainly not entitled to deprive the concerned workmen of their monthly wages.

Making the workmen concerned work even during the pandemic and thereafter not paying them their earned wages for months, thereby compelling them to extend their hands before NGOs and social workers for ration is certainly a very inhuman act on part of CIDCO.

It has been noted that, even at this stage CIDCO is not willing to make the payment of wages to the workmen concerned and instead is directing the Contractors to make the payment, which certainly cannot be accepted by the Court.

Another grievance placed is with regard to non-provision of ID Cards, face masks, hand gloves, etc.

Thus, Court directed to CIDCO the following:

  • to pay the workmen concerned their unpaid earned wages.
  • Issue service ID Cards along with face masks, hand gloves, sanitizers/soaps
  • File affidavit within a period of 2 weeks

[Maharashtra Kamgar Sanghatana v. CIDCO, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 633, decided on 13-05-2020]