Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 1
The Supreme Court today quashed a Gujarat Government order exempting factories from paying overtime wages to workers and providing ideal working conditions to them amid the Covid-19 lockdown, saying it was “an affront to the workers’ right to life and right against forced labour” guaranteed under the Constitution.
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A three-Judge Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud quashed the July 20 notification issued under Section 5 of the Factories Act by the Labour and Employment Department of the Gujarat Government that exempted factories from various conditions.
Invoking its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, the top curt ordered payment of overtime wages to all workers eligible to claim the same under the provisions of the Factories Act.
“A worker’s right to life cannot be deemed contingent on the mercy of their employer or the state. The notifications, in denying humane working conditions and overtime wages provided by law, are an affront to the workers’ right to life and right against forced labour that are secured by Articles 21 and 23 of the Constitution,” it said.
The order came on a petition filed by the Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha challenging the state government’s decision to exempt factories from the provisions of the Factories Act relating to work hours and other benefits.