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[Covid:19]: 'No Work No Wages' not applicable, Bombay HC directs payment of full wages

The Bombay High Court on 12 May, 2020 {RASHTRIYA SHRAMIK AGHADI v. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND OTHERS} held that the District Collector, Osmanabad shall ensure that full wages, save and except food allowance and conveyance allowance (only with regard to the employees who are not required to report for duties), shall be disbursed by the contractors to the concerned employees for the months of March, April and May, 2020. It was further held that the principle of “no work­ no wages” shall not be invoked until further orders. 

It was held by the Single Judge Bench of Bombay High Court at Aurangabad comprising, Justice RAVINDRA V. GHUGE, that the Court cannot turn a Nelson's eye to an extraordinary situation on account of Corona virus/ COVID­19 pandemic. It was held that able bodied persons, who are willing and desirous to offer their services in deference to   their   deployment   as   contract labourers   in   the   security   and   house keeping sector of the Trust, are unable to work since the temples and places of worships in the entire nation have been closed for securing the containment   of   COVID­19   pandemic. It was held that even  the   principal   employer   is unable to allot the work to such employees in such situation. The Court held, Prima facie, the principle of “no work­ no wages” cannot be made applicable in such extraordinary circumstances. The Court held that it cannot be insensitive to the plight of such workers, which has unfortunately befallen them on account of the Covid­19 pandemic.

In the present case, the grievance in the Writ Petition was that the payments made by the contractors to employees for the month of March, 2020 were lesser than the gross salary, and for the month of April, 2020 only a paltry amount was paid. On which, the aforesaid directions were given by Bombay HC.

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