Financial difficulty of employer is not a valid ground to deny payment of wages to workers

The Hon’ble High court of Bombay in Hind Kamgar Sanghatana V. State of Maharashtra & Ors. (WP-ASDB-LD-VC-1/20) held that payment of wages is a fundamental right of a worker under article 21 of the Constitution of India and an employer cannot take the defense of financial difficulty in denying wages due to a worker.

The Hon’ble high Court expounded that “Payment of due wages is a fundamental right of a worker under Article 21 of the Constitution. Financial difficulties of employees cannot be a ground for non-payment or delayed payment of wages to workmen”. 

The Hon’ble court further observed while that “Pausing here for a moment, we may ask ourselves whether in the absence of due wages or delayed payment of due wages by several months not authorized under the statute in question i.e., Payment of Wages Act, can a person be said to live with human dignity? The answer to us appears to be quite obvious. Denial of due wages either by the way of non-payment or by way of deferred payment or by way of installments would certainly infringe upon the cherished human right of a workman under Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.

The Hon’ble court directed the respondent authorities to pursue the matter u/s 15 of the Payment of Wages act and reach a settlement within 3 months. The Hon’be Court further directed the Deputy Commissioner of Labour, Raigad and Superintendent of Police, Raigad to carry out joint inspection of the factory premises of respondent company at Khopoli within a period of 15 days submit a report about safety measures adopted by the company as well as compliance to various government instructions by the view of COVID-19 situation.

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