HC notice to Centre, TN Govt

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Chennai, Jul 21 (UNI) The Madras High Court has issued notice to the Centre and Tamil Nadu Government on a petition filed by the association of tea plantation owners against the State government's 'wage formula' for workers.

Admitting the petition, Justice S Nagamuthu directed the governments to file counters within two weeks.

The Anamallais Tea Planters' Association, which has preferred the petition seeking stay on the operation of a June 15 notification of the state government, fixing minimum wages for workers in tea plantations, submitted that tea, coffee and cardamom industries were governed by Central Acts such as the Tea Act 1953, Coffee Act 1948 and Spices Act 1984, which were special legislations.

The Acts provide for development, regulation and control of the industries and the welfare of the workers including good working conditions and incentives.

In view of the Parliamentary enactment, the appropriate government as contemplated under the Minimum Wages Act is only the Central government and the state would have no jurisdiction to exercise its powers under the Act, the petitioner-association contended.

''The state government's order is contrary to the Act and amounts to gross abuse of power,'' the petitioner added.

The petitioner submitted that all the plantations in the state were reeling under a severe slump in the industry and they would be driven to a situation where they would be forced to discontinue production if they were compelled to pay new minimum wages. The State government's conduct would result in industrial unrest, gravely affecting production. It would also affect the competitiveness of plantation products, hence the June 15 state government GO was liable to be set aside, the petitioner added.

UNI XR SJ ATI ND1022

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