The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay on 13.05.2020 passed an order directing the City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to pay their gardeners (Malis’) their unpaid earned wages up to April, 2020 as per their entitlement under the Award dated 13.01.2018.
The said order was pronounced in response to a petition filed by the Maharashtra Kamgar Sanghatana on behalf of its members, who since the last several years have been working as Gardeners or ‘Malis’ for Respondent No. 1 i.e. City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). The Petitioner accused the Respondent of not paying their “Malis” since January, 2020. Furthermore, the Respondent made these gardeners work even during the pandemic without providing them with essential protective gears like masks and sanitizers.
The Industrial Tribunal passed an Award on 13.01.2017 stating that the concerned workmen be absorbed as permanent employees at CIDCO and be extended all benefits of permanency with effect from 1st December, 2012. In reference to the same, CIDCO failed to comply by the directions passed by the Industrial Tribunal and not only failed to provide the gardeners with essential benefits but also deprived them off their prescribed wages since January, 2020. The Order dated 31.01.2020 by the Bombay High Court dismissed the Writ Petition filed by CIDCO to impugn the said Award.
Advocate Hegde, Counsel for the Respondent submitted that the advocate of CIDCO was unable to take any actions in order to file an SLP to impugn the Order passed by the Hon’ble High Court dated 31.01.2020 in Writ Petition No. 4378 of 2018 due to the pandemic. He further added that some payments were already made to the concerned workmen and since CIDCO had handed over the gardens to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), it was PMC that was now responsible to pay the workmen.
Quashing all the arguments made by the Respondent, Justice S. J Kathawalla termed the actions of the Respondent to be extremely inhumane. He further added that the fact that CIDCO compelled the gardeners to work during the pandemic without any payments or protective wear whatsoever deserved “severe condemnation”.
Deploring the above actions by the Respondent, the Hon’ble High Court directed CIDCO to pay the workmen their unpaid wages upto April, 2020 as per their entitlement under the Award dated 13th January, 2018. Furthermore, the Respondent was ordered to issue essential service ID Cards to the concerned workmen along with face masks, hand gloves, sanitizers / soap by 18.05.2020.
CIDCO was also directed to file its affidavit to give an update on the steps taken, latest by 27.05.2020. The matter will be heard next on 01.06.2020.