Himachal High Court talks tough over slack implementation of labour laws

Shimla: Finding deficiencies in implementation of labour laws the Himachal High Court directed additional chief secretary (ACS) labour & employment to file an affidavit about steps take to enforce them.

Treating an anonymous letter as public interest litigation, a division bench consisting of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rajiv Sharma today wondered how serious the government was in implementing labour laws when it was brought to notice of the court that there was only one labour officer and two labour inspectors for the entire district of Solan.

The court observed that there were more than thousand industrial units, more than 1200 shops and 250 Hotel Restaurants that required to be inspected for violations of labour laws.

The labour inspector let the court know that besides inspecting various industrial units, they have been carrying out other duties such as conciliation officer, registering officer and also appearing as prosecutor in courts to hear and dispose of cases of payment of wages without any supporting staff or a vehicle.

In response to the anonymous letter the High Court had directed the chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Solan to conduct a discreet and confidential inquiry about unfair labour practices being adopted by one of the industrial units at Parwanoo.

The CJM had pointed out as many as twelve violations in the said unit. The court observed that this is the story of one of the hundreds of such industrial units at Parwanoo.

The court also directed the ACS to state under oath as to how many industrial units were there in the state along with the number of commercial establishments under the purview of commercial establishment act.

The court also directed the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner to depute Assistant Commissioner incharge of the industrial units to be present before the court with records.

The Deputy Director, ESI, Parwanoo has also been asked to be personally present and to submit the particulars with regard to implementation of EPF and MP Act and ESI Act.

They have been asked to specify the steps taken to check the violations by managements.

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