Govt has no answer to HC poser on ‘public emergency’
The Karnataka government has with immediate effect withdrawn a notification that allowed factories to exceed the number of working hours provided for by law.
The notification had extended working hours to 10 a day and 60 a week from the statutory eight a day and 48 a week. On May 22, the government had exempted factories registered under the Factories Act from the provisions of Section 51 (weekly hours) and Section 54 (daily hours) till August 21.
The June 11 notification says: “Whereas, having examined the provisions further, the Government of Karnataka now intends to withdraw the said notification…Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 5 of Factories Act, 1948 (Act No. 63 of 1948), the Government of Karnataka hereby withdraws the Notification dated 22-05-2020 with immediate effect.”
A petition was filed in the High Court challenging the May 22 notification as “illegal, arbitrary and in violation” of Section 5 of the Factories Act, which permits exemption from provisions of the Act only in case of ‘public emergencies’.
Hearing the matter on June 11, the High Court observed that it may have to quash the notification unless the government clarified the ‘public emergency’ involved in issuing its notification. The HC had asked the government to respond by June 12, but the government withdrew the controversial notification on June 11 itself.
Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh too have scrapped new rules exempting units from the working-hour stipulations of the Factories Act.