The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre’s reply on a plea alleging that employees including journalists have been meted out inhuman and illegal treatment by some media organizations.
A bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai, in a proceeding held through video conferencing, issued notices to the Centre, the Indian Newspapers Society and the News Broadcasters Association on the plea filed by three journalists’ bodies and listed the plea for further hearing after two weeks.
Acording to reports, they have been issuing termination notices, effecting wage cuts and asking employees to proceed on unpaid leaves during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves represented the petitioners, National Alliance of Journalists, Delhi Union of Journalists and Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists and alleged that the employees including journalists are being terminated and steps like unilateral steep wage cuts and sending workers on indefinite unpaid leave are being taken citing the nationwide COVID-19.
The PIL has sought a direction to all persons publishing newspapers or engaged with media work including digital media and employing journalists and non-journalists for this purpose to treat all termination of service notices issued, resignation from services received from employees pursuant to a request from the employers whether oral or in writing, all wage reductions, all directions to go on leave without pay, taking place after the announcement of the 25 lockdown as suspended with immediate effect until further orders .
The PIL has been filed regarding the inhuman and illegal treatment being meted out by employers to their employees and workers in the newspaper and media sector, it said.
In the aftermath of the nation-wide COVID-19 lockdown, several newspapers, magazines, online media outlets, and other employers in the media sector have reportedly sacked several of their employees.
Media organizations also allegedly indulged in pay cuts, leave without pay and various other means to cut cost.