The Supreme Court has upheld the Delhi government's March 2017 notification that announced a 37 percent hike in minimum wages for workers. The case has been pending in courts for nearly two years now.
The Delhi High Court had last year stayed the government notification after several employers in the state argued that the burden of minimum wages and its upward revision would badly affect them.
In its order given on Monday, a bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and Aniruddha Bose said: "We allow the petitioner state (Delhi government) to take the draft notification to the logical conclusion and direct that till the said notification comes into effect, the relationship shall be governed by and in terms of the notification dated 03.03.2017 as directed in the order October 31, 2018. Once the notification is issued, the appropriate legal consequence and sequitur shall follow. The Delhi government has proposed Rs 14,842 per month for unskilled workers and Rs 16,341 per month for clerical and supervisory staff (non matriculates)."
The apex court observed that if any person is aggrieved by the notification, he shall be entitled to take recourse to legal remedies available in law.
According to a Delhi government official all permanent, fixed-term, contractual, casual, as well as daily wage workers, will benefit from this order.
"The objections raised by the employers' were dismissed by the apex court, as it made its decision on the wage hike notification," said a Delhi government official.
The Delhi government's Labour Department had opted for the procedure for wage fixation/revision as provided u/s 5(1)(b) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
It requested various trade unions and market associations/factory owners associations/employer associations to recommend one person who would be nominated as a member of the Delhi Minimum Wages Advisory Board to be constituted under Section 7 of the Minimum Wages Act.
After receiving nomination/names from these organisations, the Minimum Wages Advisory Board was constituted in January 2019 with the approval of the Lt. Governor, NCT of Delhi.
The Board then held four meetings to deliberate on the subject of wage revision taking into account all the suggestions received from all the parties/stakeholders.