Bombay HC asks the civic organization of Solapur to deposit Rs 8 crore for non-payment of wages to 300 employees for four years
Observing that the non-payment of salaries of municipal transport employees by the civic body is only a case of mismanagement and that the fundamental human right to subsistence under article 21 of the Constitution was directly affected in “inhumane acts”, the Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the Solapur Municipal Corporation (SMC) to file Rs 8 crore in its register against the pending wage arrears of nearly 300 employees for nearly four years.
The court said that until such deposits or payments are made, the company should cease spending on all activities except spending on essential civic amenities.
A single judge bench of Judge Girish S Kulkarni on Thursday adopted an order on a contempt petition filed by the ‘Lal Bavta Mahanagar Palika’, a union for employees of Solapur Municipal Corporation Transport Undertaking, argued senior lawyer Gayatri Singh with lawyers Deepali SK and Ronita Bhattacharya, against the SMC commissioner for failure to comply with the order issued by the Solapur labor court in December 2017.
The labor court had prevented the civic body from adopting “unfair labor practices” and ordered it to pay monthly wages to union workers as well as payment arrears to transport workers in phases until August. 2018. The court also requested SMC will pay 50% of the salary pending from July 2017 to January 10, 2018 to employees. In May 2018, the High Court upheld the labor court order.
Counsel IM Kharadi for the SMC argued that due to the municipality’s financial difficulties, the respondents could not pay the arrears and / or the regular salary. However, he did not deny that the affected employees regularly perform their duties.
After hearing the submissions, Judge Kulkarni observed: “The situation is quite shocking as there is no doubt that these employees are carrying out their duties, however, they have not received their salaries… It is precarious to imagine such a situation. in a civilized society and that too in the hands of a public body. It is quite surprising that for the period between November 2017 and October 2021, no salary has been paid to such employees, however, they carry out their duties for fear of losing their jobs… An alleged bad financial situation cannot be an answer. or the rationale for this situation.
Seeking to comply with the instructions, the HC postponed a new hearing on the case to November 15.