No strict action against companies for not paying full salaries of employees during the lockdown: Supreme Court

Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, June 12, 2020: If the private companies fail to pay their workers full salary during the lockdown, then there will be no strict action against them. The Supreme Court gave this ruling today. The next hearing, in this case, will be held in the last week of July. The hearing date is not set. The central government should submit an affidavit in 4 weeks and file its reply on the order of 29 March of the Home Ministry.

The Union Home Ministry had issued an order on 29 March stating that when the lockdown is going on all over the country, then all the companies, the establishment should pay their workers on the due date and do not cut salaries. The Home Ministry order was for 54 days of lockdown.

How did the matter reach the Supreme Court?
Some private companies, including the Hand Tools Manufacturers Association and Jute Mills Association, had petitioned the Supreme Court against the Home Ministry order. On May 15, the Supreme Court had heard and issued an interim order. It said that there should be no action against companies that do not obey the order of the Home Ministry.

What happened in the Supreme Court today?
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Justice Sanjay Krishna Kaul and Justice MR Shah held the hearing today. The bench said that strict action should not be taken against companies who failed to pay full salary during the lockdown. The companies got this relief till the last week of July.

What has the Supreme Court said for the government?
If the dispute between the companies and the workers is not resolved, the Labor Department will have to help with the settlement. State governments will also have to help with the settlement and submit its report to the Labour Commissioner. The central and state governments should issue a circular about the settlement through the Labour Department.

What did the Supreme Court say in the last hearing?
The decision was reserved by the Supreme Court on 4 June. The court said that workers should not be left without salary. If companies do not have the money, then the government can interfere. 50% of salary can also be paid. However, the government said that companies that are talking about having difficulty in paying salary should be asked to present their audited balance sheet in the court.