Home >News >India >SC refuses interim protection to MSMEs against payment of wages

The Supreme Court on Friday refused interim protection to a group of 11 Haryana-based micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) against the ministry of home affairs (MHA) order directing full payment of salaries. The petition was tagged with a similar case involving Ficus Pax P Ltd, a packaging company based in Bengaluru. The top court had directed the government to file a reply in the case filed by Ficus Pax P before 15 May. The tagged cases will be heard on 15 May, it said.

The petition filed by the MSMEs challenged the 20 March advisory by the Union ministry of labour and employment and the order issued by MHA on 29 March, saying that they are in violation of the provisions of the Constitution.

The 29 March MHA order states that all “employers, be it in the industry or in the shops and commercial establishments, shall make payment of wages of their workers at their work places, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown." The order also said that states and Union territories should look into the implementation of the order and take action if it is violated.

The petition by MSMEs said they should be allowed to pay the employees 70% less and argued that the government should take care of the rest, utilizing the funds collected by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation or the PM Cares Fund or through any other government fund.

The petitioners argued that they have not been able to conduct business because of the nationwide lockdown and that being forced to pay workers in full in these compelling circumstances has put extreme financial and mental stress on them.

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