The Supreme Court observed that the plea highlighting the mass lay-offs and salary cuts in the media industry during the COVID-19 lockdown has raised a “serious issue”. The Bench of Justice NV Ramana thus issued notice to the Centre in the petition filed by journalists’ unions.
The National Alliance of Journalists (NAJ) and Delhi Union of Journalists, and the Brihan Mumbai Union of Journalists had approached the Supreme Court for suspension of all retrenchment, salary cuts and allied orders by media houses against their employees till further orders on April 16 and submitted that various employees of the media industry were meted out with inhuman treatment by their employers, based on unilateral decisions to either slash salaries or issue termination notices.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested the three-judge bench to “hand him over a copy” of the petition so that he could “respond” as per the proceeding of the matter today.
Justice SK Kaul stated, “Other unions are also saying this. The question is if business does not start, how long will they sustain? The issue needs hearing.”
The petition highlighted nice incidents regarding the same and stated, “In the backdrop of the lockdown, the media industry has effected job losses and wages cuts with impunity.”
The plea while seeking directions to suspend lay-offs further prayed to the Supreme Court,
The Court to direct all media houses, including digital media, to treat all termination notices, resignations received pursuant to request, wage reductions, and directions to go on leave without pay, which took place after the announcement of the COVID-19 lockdown, as suspended with immediate effect.