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The Allahabad High Court on Thursday issued notice in a PIL challenging the Uttar Pradesh Government’s move to relax certain labour law regulations concerning working hours, rest periods and overtime.
The Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma has issued notice in a PIL moved by the Uttar Pradesh Worker Front through its president Dinker Kapoor. Advocates Pranjal Shukla and Vinayak Mithal appeared for the petitioner.
The challenged notificiation was issued citing the present COVID-19 pandemic. The May 8 notification further provided that from April 20 to July 19, the following regulations would apply instead i.e.
Working hours for factory workers were increased from 8 to 12 hours a day;
Working hours for factory workers capped at 72 hours in a week;
The periods of work of adult workers in a factor each day shall be so fixed that no period shall exceed six hours and so that no worker shall work for more than six hours before he has had an interval for rest of at least half an hour;
Wages shall be in proportion of the existing wages (for eg. if wages for eight hours are 80 Rs, then proportionate wages for 12 hours will be 120 Rs).
The Allahabad High Court has now issued notice in the matter and listed the plea for further hearing via video conference on May 18.
The Uttar Pradesh also recently passed an Ordinance to exempt factories and other manufacturing establishments from the application of certain labour laws for a period three years.
The Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020 provided that "All factories and establishments engaged in manufacturing process shall be exempted from the operation of all Labour Laws for a period of three years", subject to certain conditions.
The conditions in the ordinance, inter alia, intimated that provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 and Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, the Employees Compensation Act, 1923 and the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 would continue to apply.