Supreme Court Rules In Favour of Journalists

The Supreme Court by passing order that the benefits of Majithia Wage Board are to be extended to contractual employees of newspaper establishments gave great relief to regional journalists.

New Delhi: Giving relief to employees, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favour of them in the Majithia Wage Board dispute. The Wage Board dispute for journalists and non-journalist employees of newspaper establishments has been going on for some time.

A vacation bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi passed the order saying the benefits of Majithia Wage Board are to be extended to contractual employees.

On February 8, the apex court dismissed all writ petitions moved by newspaper managements against the Majithia Wage Board.

It ordered the owners to pay their employees the wages as revised/determined by the wage board payable from November 11, 2011, when the Government of India notified the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Board.

All the arrears up to March 2014 would be paid to the eligible persons in four equal instalments within a period of one year. The revised wages will become payable from April 2014.

Officials of Indian Newspaper Society (INS) were not available for comment. An email questionnaire sent to INS remained unanswered.

The judgment by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam on behalf of a three-member bench said the concept of ‘variable pay’ contained in the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission has been incorporated into the Wage Board recommendations to ensure that the wages of the newspaper employees are on a par with employees of other sectors.

Such incorporation was made by the Majithia Wage Board after careful consideration, in order to ensure equitable treatment to employees of newspaper establishments, and it was well within its rights to do so.

The unanimous judgment further stated that the Wage Board has recommended a grant of 100% neutralisation of dearness allowance. The Fifth Pay Commission granted the same in 1996. Since then, public sector undertakings, banks and even the private sector are all granting 100 percent neutralisation of dearness allowance.

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