Minimum wages as fixed by Delhi Government to hold till further decision is taken, says Supreme Court

Minimum wages for scheduled employment will have to be refixed within three months as per the procedure laid out in Section 5(1) (a) or 5(1) (b) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

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A Supreme Court Bench — comprising Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi and Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph — has announced that the Minimum Wages, as fixed by the Delhi government according to the notification dated March 3, 2017 will continue to be applicable till the Supreme Court makes a decision on the appeal on its validity against a Delhi High Court Judgement.

The Bench also directed the Delhi Government to fix the minimum wages for the scheduled employment once again — within three months — in line with the procedure recommended either under Section 5(1)(a) or 5(1)(b) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

The Court made it clear that at this stage, there is no need to pay arrears. However, current wages will have to be disbursed as per the notification of March 2017.

The issue of arrears under the notification of March 2017 will be determined by the wages re-fixed during the redoing exercise that has been ordered.

All stakeholders will have the freedom to raise relevant issues in the fresh procedure that the court will undertake.

The Delhi Government was represented by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, while Senior Advocates V Giri, PV Surendranath, Sudershan Kumar Misra and Basava Prabhu S Patil appeared for various respondents.

In August 2018, the Delhi High Court had dismissed the revision of the minimum rate of wages for all classes of employees across all scheduled jobs under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (Act) and re-constituting the Minimum Wages Advisory Committee (Committee) for such scheduled employments.

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