Payment of wages below prescribed minimum wages attracts criminal liability in court

Minimum wages
A much-known case of Geetam Singh (Central Secretariat Club vs Geetam Singh) exemplifies “Payment of wages below the minimum wage rate amounts to forced labour and attracts criminal liability”.
The Delhi High Court in this matter termed non-payment of minimum wages as “unconscionable and unpardonable.”
The court in its legal term stated that “Extraction of labour without payment of minimum wages, per corollary, would reflect an attitude which is inhuman”.
To draw the attention on the necessity of payment of minimum wages, the court stated that the payment of minimum wages is an essential characteristic of humanity.
Geetam Singh who was employed as a gardener by the club registered a claim under Industrial Disputes Act alleging that he was being underpaid what was the minimum wages payable to him under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 by the Central Secretariat Club.
The labour court rejected the Clubs argument that the club was not liable to pay Singh as per the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 because it was not an industry under the Industrial Disputes Act on the grounds of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board v. R. Rajappa case, wherein it was held that clubs were also industries.
The court in its statement said that a reading of the Bangalore Water Supply judgment makes it clear that the applicability of the Act was exempted only in a case in which the enterprise was clearly charitable in nature, without any financial transaction being involved.
It further mentioned that, as the Club did charge subscription from its members, thus the club was an ‘industry’ within the meaning of the Act.
The court thus held Club guilty for this act and directed the club to pay the difference in payment between the wages paid and the minimum wages to Singh under the Industrial Disputes Act 1947.
Source: KNN Knowledge and News Network

Leave A Reply