The Supreme Court has observed and stated that only the clerical or arithmetical mistakes in any order fixing or revising the minimum rate of wages can be corrected by invoking Section 10 of the Minimum Wages Act.
The court has added that as per Section 10 only the clerical or arithmetical mistakes in any order fixing or revising minimum rates of wages can be corrected.
The appeal was filed by a labour union (Gomantak Mazdoor Sangh) against a judgment of the High Court of Judicature of Bombay at Goa.
The petition was dismissed preferred by the appellant challenging the validity of the Errata Notification.
The Apex Court, the appellant- writ petitioner contended that if the original notification dated 23/24.05.2016 is considered.
The bench of Justice MR Shah and BV Nagarathna rejected the Errata Notification dated 14.07.2016 issued by the State of Goa.
The notification was earlier modified dated 23/24.05.2016. According to it fixed the rates of minimum wages in various sectors.
“In the present case, assuming that the State was having the power to amend, vary or rescind the notification in exercise of powers under Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, in that case also, when the earlier notification dated 23/24.05.2016 was issued after following the due procedure as required under Sections 4 and 5 of the Act, 1948.”
“The same procedure ought to have been followed even while varying and/or modifying the notification. Hence, the notification dated 23/24.05.2016 could not have been modified by such an Errata Notification which was issued in purported exercise of Section 10 of the Act, 1948.”
Finding of the Case
The court noted that in this case the minimum wages were revised and determined even after consultation with the Minimum Wage Advisory Board as required under Section 5 of the Act, 1948.
“Once there was no mistake, the same could not have been corrected in the exercise of powers under Section 10 of the Act, 1948. A conscious decision was taken by the State Government after consultation with the Minimum Wage Advisory Board and thereafter the minimum wages were revised and determined in the exercise of power under Section 4(1)(i).”
“Therefore, it cannot be said that there was any arithmetical and/or clerical mistake, which could have been corrected in the exercise of powers under Section 10 of the Act, 1948.
The State contended that there was a mistake while issuing the notification dated 23/24.05.2016 and instead of clause (iii) clause (i) was mentioned and therefore, by the subsequent Errata Notification, the same has been corrected.
Observation and Judgement
The court also observed that even by applying Section 21 of the General Clauses Act and assuming that the State was having the power to amend, vary or rescind the notification.
In that case, after following the procedure power can be exercised in the same manner which was followed while issuing the original notification. The bench held that the Errata Notification dated 14.07.2016 was whole without jurisdiction and contrary to the relevant provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.