Payment of salary to employees during Corona lock down 2020

Validity of directions given for full payment of wages:

The petitioner’s case is that notifications are arbitrary, illegal, irrational and unreasonable and contrary to the provisions of law including Article 14, Article 19(1)(g). Notifications are unreasonable and arbitrary interference with the rights of petitioner Employers under Article 19(1)(g). Notifications are also contrary to the principles of Equal work Equal Pay and also No work No pay, for it does not differentiate between the workers who are working during the lockdown period in establishment such asthe petitioner who have been permitted to operate during the lockdown period and the workers who had not worked at all. 5.The Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, cannot invoke Section 10(2)(l) or any other provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005,to impose financial obligations on the private sector such as payment of wages. The Central Government has the power to allocate funds for emergency response, relief, rehabilitation, mitigation of disasters under Disaster Management Act. The ultimate onus for any compensation towards workers shall ultimately be of Government and the said liability cannot be shifted upon the employers in the Private establishment. The impugned notifications have the effect of completely negating the statutory provisions under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Effect of Lock down:

It cannot be disputed that the lockdown measures enforced by the Government of India under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, had equally adverse effect on the employers as well as on employees. Various Industries,establishments were not allowed to function during the said period and those allowed to function also could not function to their capacity.There can be no denial that lockdown measures which were enforced by the Government of India had serious consequences both on employers and employees.

Paying capacity:

Some of the industries and establishments may bear the financial burden of payment of wages or substantial wages during the lock-down period to its workers and employees. Some of them may not be able to bear the entire burden. A balance has to be struck between these two competitive claims.The workers and employees although were ready to work but due to closure of industries could not work and suffered. For smooth running of industries with the participation of the workforce, it is essential that a via media be found out.

Directions by Supreme Court:

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