Published on: 20 September 2023 at 11:12 IST
The Delhi High Court has issued a directive to the Delhi Government, instructing not to publish any job advertisements on its “Rozgar Bazaar portal” that do not comply with the Minimum Wages Act of 1948.
A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula acknowledged the Delhi Government’s commitment to upgrading the software on the portal to prevent the posting of job advertisements offering wages below the legally prescribed minimum.
As a result, the court has resolved public interest litigation (PIL) that sought the Delhi Government’s immediate cessation of allowing individuals, companies, organizations, or establishments from advertising job vacancies with salaries below the stipulated minimum wage on its official portal.
The PIL also called for government oversight of online payments to ensure that employees receive the prescribed minimum wage.
“The Respondents are, however, directed that no advertisement is published on the portal which is non-compliant with the Minimum Wages Act, 1948,” the court decreed.
In response to the plea, the Delhi Government submitted a counter affidavit explaining that the Rozgar Bazar Portal was launched to assist individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government further clarified that they had developed software allowing anyone to post job listings, regardless of job categories or specifications.
The government’s response disclosed that some employers registered on the portal had been advertising job vacancies at wage rates lower than the minimum rates established by the Delhi Government’s Labour Department. Given that such advertisements would contravene the Minimum Wages Act of 1948, the government issued instructions not to upload any non-compliant advertisements on the portal.
“The Respondents have also stated that they are taking appropriate steps to update their software portal so that not a single advertisement reflecting wages below the prescribed minimum wages would be uploaded,” the court noted while disposing of the plea.
The PIL was filed by a law student at Jamia Millia Islamia University, who stated that the case was initiated for the welfare of workers and laborers in Delhi. The PIL sought the enforcement of labor laws and the eradication of bonded labor in the national capital.
The petition cited an order issued by the Delhi Government concerning the minimum wages to be paid to unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled workers, effective from October 1, 2022.
The petitioner argued that job opportunities for positions such as Office Boy, Cook, Waiter, Computer Operator, Delivery Boy, Kitchen Helper, Ambulance Driver, Peon, Security Guard, etc., were being advertised with salaries below the established minimum wage, thereby violating the government’s order.
“…non-payment of Minimum wage is adversely affecting the right to life (including the right to health and the right to dignity) as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It is because a person who does not have the minimum amount of money as decided by the government may not be in a position to buy and eat healthy food and avail other basic necessities such as cloths, accommodation and internet,” the plea read.