The Delhi High Court on Saturday quashed two notifications, issued last year by the Delhi Government, relating to revision of minimum wages for all classes of workmen in all scheduled employments and setting up of an advisory panel for the purpose.
"The constitution of the committee was completely flawed and its advice was not based on relevant material and suffers from non-application of mind," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar said while setting aside the Delhi government notification setting up the advisory panel on minimum wages.
"The government decision based on such advice is in violation of statutory provision, principles of natural justice, denies fair representation to the employers well as the employees...in fact even without any effort to gather relevant material and information," the bench said.
The court observed that the committee in making its recommendations as well as the Delhi government in issuing the singular notification for uniform minimum wages for all scheduled employments completely ignored vital and critical aspects having a material bearing on the issue.
"Any change in the prescribed rates of minimum wages, is bound to impact both industry and workmen," the court said.
"The respondents (Delhi government) were bound to meaningfully comply with the principles of natural justice, especially the principles of fair play and due process. The representatives of the employers had a legitimate expectation of being heard as the advice of the committee was to inevitably affect them, which has been denied to them before the decision to revise minimum wages was finalized."
The bench order came on several public interest litigations including one filed by Social Jurist, a civil rights group, which said the hike in wages was at an unreasonably low rate, which violated the fundamental right of the workers.
Expressing disappointment with the Delhi High Court's verdict quashing notifications, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he will decide the further course of action after reading the judgement.
"We have given relief to poor labourers by increasing the salaries in the time of so much inflation. But the court rejected our decision. We will decide the strategy later after reading the court order. We are committed to providing relief to poor people," Kejriwal tweeted.