The Centre has told the Supreme Court that its March 29 direction asking private establishments to pay full wages to workers during the COVID-19 lockdown was a temporary measure to mitigate the financial hardship of employees and workers, specially contractual and casual. In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the government has said that the directions have been revoked by the authority with effect from May 18.
The affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the direction was fully in conformity with the provisions, scheme and objects of the Disaster Management Act and it is not ultra vires. The Centre also requested the top court that employers claiming incapacity in paying salaries must be directed to furnish their audited balance sheets and accounts in the court.
It requested the court to dispose of as infructuous the batch of pleas challenging the March 29 notification, arguing that the impugned notifications have outlived their life and adjudication of the same would only entail an academic exercise as it would not be in the interest of public to seek recovery of salaries paid to employees and workers for the said 54 days.
The affidavit has been filed as the apex court, while hearing the matter on May 26, had asked the Centre to file counter affidavit within a week on the issues raised in the petitions.