KARNATAKA HC QUESTIONS THE STATE GOVERNMENT IN RELAXING THE LABOUR LAW PROVISIONS ON MAXIMUM WORKING HOURS FOR FACTORY WORKERS

(By – Ukkash F)

The Karnataka HC sent a notice to the State government asked to justify the blanket relaxation of labour law provisions under the Factories Act, 1948. The question was raised on the plea against the Government notification for relaxation.

The notification on May 22 has increased the working hours of the labourers from 9hours to 10hours per day. Moreover, it is increased to 60hours per week from 48 hours per week of working hours.

“The State will have to explain how the power under Section 5 of the Factories Act, 1948 could be exercised in a blanket manner by granting exemption to all the factories. Section 5 of the said Act of 1948 contemplates the exercise of the power to grant an exemption in respect of any factory or class or description of factories.” 

The bench noted that Section 5 of the Act prima facie does not allow any blanket exemptions in favor of all the factories. Moreover, the State Government has to justify the Public emergency enunciated in Section 5 of the said Act.

It is pertinent to note that the State Government has not given any directions regarding the safety measures to be taken by the labourers under the Factories Act, 1948.

“The State Government must also deal with the objection of the petitioner that there is no provision made for payment of additional wages”

The relaxations of the labour laws are a violation of the rights of the labourers and the State has yet to justify this unscrupulous step. The petitioner also submits for not reducing the wages and prays for additional wages to be given in this unfortunate situation of the Corona Virus outbreak.