New Delhi: The Delhi government has moved a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against a Delhi high court stay on its notification of revising minimum wages of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers and formation of Minimum Wages Advisory Committee. Two senior counsels, Dushyant Dave and CU Singh, have been roped in to defend its case in the apex court.

In its petition, the Labour Department said that the high court order had not said anything adverse on the formula adopted for wage calculation, which included the number of calories a worker
required daily to perform a moderate activity, prices of food, clothing, housing, light and fuel, education, social functions and other family commitments.

In August this year, the HC had called the AAP government’s order revising the minimum wages for all classes of workmen in scheduled employment as a “hurried” decision that was taken without hearing the employers or employees who would be affected and was violative of the Constitution. In its 218-page verdict, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also set aside a September 2016 notification by which a Minimum Wages Advisory Committee for all scheduled employments was set up, saying that its constitution was “completely flawed”.

The court had noted that though the revision of wages “is sorely needed”, the “hurried attempt” and “contravening principles of natural justice has unfortunately disrupted this course, yet again”. The bench also said that the fixation of minimum wages in Delhi cannot be faulted simply because they are higher than the rates of minimum wages fixed in surrounding states and towns.

It said the “flawed” Committee “gave a report which was not based on relevant material, denied fair representation to the employers as well as the employees, in fact without any effort even to gather relevant material and information. The government (of Delhi) decision based on such advice in violation of express statutory provision and principles of natural justice as well as to the prejudice of employers as well as employees is unsustainable.