The Central government is struggling to address distress calls of workers across the country, with the authorities intervening with employers to address concerns on layoffs or unpaid leave during the nationwide lockdown, which is aimed at minimising the spread of Covid-19.
The office of the chief labour commissioner, under the Union Labour and Employment Ministry, had written to Spicejet airline Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh last week to comply with the “instructions” of the government and not deduct the salaries of workers in the lockdown period.
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the aviation, travel and tourism industry are the ones most severely and directly affected sectors across the globe due to restrictions on domestic and international flights. However, we cannot turn a blind eye towards every other sector where layoffs have begun, following another 19-day lockdown extension period in India.
Citing the challenges and mass unemployment which is going to be a reality soon, Save Family Foundation & Men Welfare Trust NGOs have written to Delhi High Court requesting to pull the plug on all maintenance orders for next three months.
The note reads as follows (dated April 14, 2020):
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We as Save Family Foundation & Men Welfare Trust (Reg NGO’s) working under the aegis of Save Indian Family Movement, the under signed would like to bring to the notice of your kind Authority the view of exceptional circumstances of COVID-19 and further requests the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi to exercise inherent Supervisory Jurisdiction of High Court of Delhi to issue directions which may be deemed justified and proper in the interest of Human Kind.
1) We submit that this is an Extra-Ordinary situation which Mankind has ever witnessed. India and the World is facing an unprecedented challenge to defeat rapid spread of virus COVID-19.
2) It is humbly submitted that Government of India issued notification for Nation Wide Lockdown of 21 DAYS viz Order dated 24.03.2020 which will possibly extend further in DELHI. It is further submitted with deep sorrow that Till date more than 7000 positive cases as on 11 APR 2020 has been reported and total 242 number of deaths reported as per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and it is clear cut evident that DELHI is among the one of the major effected States across India source (https://www.mohfw.gov.in/).
3) It is further submitted that as nearly 162 countries are amid of Lockdown and businesses across the globe are either non-operational or operating under fear in a situation of upend of Global Financial Markets. It is further submitted that ALL Major Financial Markets are in Turmoil hence Global Economy is already and seriously impacted on worst note. It is further submitted with deep sorrow more that 1.7 million positive cases has been reported globally and number of deaths reported crossed 100k source viz (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/)
4) According to Media reports Millions of Americans already have lost the Jobs and approximately 800K jobs lost in March, in Spain. The Spain Labour Market suffered the Worst Month on record which are among the Developed Nations. It is deeply regretted that India is not among the untouched from this global breakdown. As per the latest report from CMIE (Center for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd.), established in 1976 as an Independent Think tank, the unemployment rate has crossed 23%. As per the report source viz (https://www.cmie.com/kommon/bin/sr.php?kall=warticle&dt=2020-04-07%2008:26:04&msec=770)
5) The economic devastation of this pandemic is not limited only to job losses but effecting the whole country. The global rating agency, Moody’s (https://www.moodys.com/) has in-fact downgraded India’s growth forecast for year 2020 from 5.3% to 2.5%, which is less than half, within a span of 10 days.
6) That due to this extreme financial crunch AIR India has already suspended 200 Pilots amidst Lockdown and already cut the allowances of Employees source viz (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/airlines-/-aviation/covid-19- effect-air-india-suspends contract-of-around-200 pilots/articleshow/74946722.cms?from=mdr)
It is humbly submitted that many have entered job losses, business losses and many private company employees are pressurised to go on forced leaves amid Lockdown.
7) It is further submitted that due to COVID-19 Lockdown a Letter- Petition been moved before The Supreme Court for creation of a Financial Emergency Fund for Advocates Date 07.04.2020 source https://www.barandbench.com
8) It is respectfully submitted that in India with a Population of 130 Billion, tax payers are nearly 5.65 Crore and maximum Population belongs to Free Lancers, Small Businesses, Shop Keepers, Private Company Employees, Contract Employees, Taxi Drivers, Transporters & Daily Wage Workers. In this situation of extreme Financial Emergency of LockDown21DAYS where Citizens of India are living and eating hand to mouth it cannot be firmly said that any new devastating situation may not arise in near future looking towards the present impact across the GLOBE as well as on India which is between STAGE 2 & 3 of outbreak of pandemic COVID-19 including STATE of DELHI.
9) That by looking at current situation of New DELHI being one of the worst affected specifically, it is humbly Requested before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi to suspend all Maintenance Orders of PWDV ACT 2005, CRPC 125, HMA, SMA, HAMA either Interim in nature or the Final Ones passed by MM Courts or by Family Courts of New Delhi Justified for THREE MONTHS as the exceptional circumstantial change or else Men may die not of Just COVID 19 or Job Loss or Financial Loss but also of Starvation.
10) It humbly submitted that the court may instead direct the Department of Women and Child of STATE of NCT of DELHI & Delhi Commission of Women to come up with financial package to support the Maintenance orders for these 3 months.
It is respectfully PRAYED that The High Court of Delhi may be pleased to consider this application as circumstantial FINANCIAL EMERGENCY for the Litigants and families of FAMILY CASES and may be pleased to exercise inherent & supervisory Jurisdiction u/s 24 of CPC 1908 & u/article 227 of The COI and pass the order for Interim-Suspension of Three Months of Maintenances in the best interest of HUMAN KIND.
- All interim and final orders had been sanctioned by lower or High Court when situation was normal and men had been stable in their existing jobs
- The lifestyle and status of parties had been considered at a time when a man could probably afford to pay his estranged wife, without the fear of becoming jobless in the near future without any notice
- When a court wants to give “Equal Lifestyle” to an estranged wife, the court must accordingly withhold or slash the maintenance amount during such difficult times that a husband will be or is already going through
- It will be highly unjust that an estranged wife continues to enjoy the same income without the pressures of going out, earning or basic sustenance due to lockdown
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- While one can argue that any man who loses his job can approach the courts respectively for reduction in the amounts, however, amidst lockdown one must note that courts have not been functioning either
- A man cannot be made to pay by hook or by crook even when the world has drastically changed completely within a month
- The Delhi and other High Courts must set a stern example of how women must now partner in sharing equal sorrows, as they demand their rightful share during happier times
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