Srinagar: The High Court Friday closed contempt proceedings against the Government after it observed there was no “wilful disobedience” of its order at this stage regarding registration of unorganised workers for social security benefits in Jammu and Kashmir.
A division bench of Chief Justice PankajMithal and Sanjay Dhar closed the proceedings after it went through a status report filed by the government. Advocate General D C Raina contended that effective steps in registering the workers of the unorganised sectors in J&K were underway and a dedicated portal was being made available.
“In accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court, the Director General Labour Welfare has informed that Ministry of Labour and Employment has developed a registration module for creating a comprehensive National Database for unorganised workers,” he said.
Raina told the court that the registration of unorganised workers under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, was going on and so far 5,56,291 unorganised workers had been registered.
“In view of the statement made in the status report, it is apparent that the work of registration of workers of the unorganised sector is underway for which proper and necessary steps are being taken at the government level,” the court said.
Pointing out that it cannot be said that there was any wilful disobedience of any order of the court at this stage, the court said that the contempt proceedings were closed and contempt notice, if any issued, should stand discharged.
In May this year, the High Court had asked J&K’s Commissioner Secretary, Labour to ensure at the earliest registration of workers in the unorganised sector after considering a representation by an NGO, National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour, if the same would be filed.
The court had issued the direction while disposing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by the NGO through NirmalGorana.
The PIL had sought to appoint immediately nodal officers in each district of J&K and setting up of temporary help desks at Tourist Reception Centres and other public places for registration of migrant workers for security benefits in keeping with Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 and Unorganised Sector Worker’s Social Security Act, 2008.
The petitioner through Advocate Syed Musaib had submitted that in a plea pending before it that the Supreme Court has issued direction to Chief Secretaries of the states and union territories to start registration of 10 percent estimated number of workers every moth starting from January 2019 and to submit their report to it by 31 January 2019.
“But even then, the work of registration is not being done,” he had told the court
The petitioner had now filed a contempt plea against the J&K government for not implementing the order passed by the PIL.