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Ten employees of a car rental service have moved the Delhi High Court seeking registration of FIR against the Directors of the Company for non-payment of wages during lockdown. (Nirmal Bhagat & Ors vs MHA & Ors)
Notice in the Petition was issued to the Central Government, Delhi Police and the Directors of the car rental service by a single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla.
In their Petition filed through Advocates Amit Kumar Sharma, Satyam Singh, the Petitioners informed the Court that in order to mitigate the economic hardship due to COVID-19, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a Notification on March 29, directing all States and Union Territories to ensure for the payment of wages to all employees, whether be it industries or in shops or any other commercial establishment.
The Petitioners stated that they had been in continuous and uninterrupted employment of the Respondent establishment for several years and that contributions towards 'provident fund' had been also been deducted from their wages.
It was the Petitioners' grievance that during the lockdown period, their employer not only denied them their salaries but also refused to give details about their provident fund account number/certificate etc.
The Petitioners intended to withdraw the provident fund amount according to the schemes announced by the Finance Ministry, Government of India in this hour of need.
It was asserted that in hope of payment, repeated requests were made to the employer and in the alternative, details of provident fund account were sought.
Unsuccessful in getting their salaries, the Petitioners then registered a complaint with the Vasant Kunj Police Station on April 16 and implored them to help in executing the March 29, 2020 Notification passed by the Home Ministry.
The Petitioners informed the Court that as on the date of filing of the Petition, no action had been taken on the Police complaint.
Further, on April 22, the Petitioners also served a notice upon the employers, bringing to their attention the Central Government's directive.
Aggrieved by the inaction of the employer and the Delhi Police, the Petitioners moved the Court.
The Petitioners contended that their right to life with dignity and respect was violated by the inaction of the the employer and the Delhi Police.
Stating that the State was duty bound to protect its Right to Life, the Petition reads,
".. the life and the well-being of the citizens cannot be allowed to hang in balance as those responsible to protect tend no assistance to its citizen."
The Petitioners have argued that failure on part of the State to provide adequate and effective mechanism for the implementation of its Notification would only further worsen the situation.
In view of the above, the Petitioners have sought a direction to the Central Government and the Delhi Police to issue appropriate orders to the employer to pay full wages to them.
A direction is also sought for registration of FIR against the Employer/Directors of car rental service on the complaint given by the Employees.
The matter would be heard next on May 29.
Read the Order: