Most of the companies are aware of the fact that money is a powerful incentive to motivate and increase the morale of workers, particularly in the industrial sector. Ensuring productivity is of paramount importance in industrial development. That is why employers often make extra cash payments, other than the wages or salary to the employees, which is known as bonus. Bonus is often directly linked to performance of an employee.
As per the section 10 of the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, an employer is obliged to pay a minimum amount of bonus to his employees even, if he incurs losses during an accounting year. The minimum bonus payable by an employer is 8.33 percent of the annual salary or wages of the employee or Rs.100 for employees above the age of 15 years and Rs.60 for employees below 15 years, whichever is higher.
The bonus shall be paid within eight months of the closure of accounting years or within one month in case of enforcement of award of an industrial dispute pertaining to payment of bonus. However, the time period can be extended, if there is a valid reason.
In a landmark case of Jalan Trading Co. V. Mill Mazdoor Union, Citation (1966) 11 LLJ 546 SC, section 10, of the Act was challenged on the ground that it contravened the Article 14, 19(1) (g) and 31 (1) of the Constitution of India. Let’s not forget, Article 14, of Constitution of India provides that the right to equality before law and equal protection of laws within territory of India. Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India provides for right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. Article 31(1), of Constitution of India guarantees the right against deprivation of property otherwise than by authority of law.
The complainant party in the abovementioned case argued that the concept of minimum bonus irrespective of profit or loss leads to indirect abrasion of capital, because the payment of bonus in case of a loss or no profit is made from the capital or reserves of the company. It was argued that the section 10, of the Act, violates Article 14, of the Constitution of India as; it makes no difference between companies earning profit or facing loss. However, the Supreme Court rejected all the contentions and held the Section 10, of the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, as valid.
An industrial dispute is a clash or difference in opinion between the management and workers of a corporation or industry as a whole pertaining to the employment terms. The affairs of industrial disputes are regulated by the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. The Act provides for various courts of inquiry, industrial tribunal and boards of conciliation.
A trade union, which acts as the representative of workers, plays an important part in initiating as well as resolving an industrial dispute. Certain factors that lead to industrial dispute are wages, working conditions and working hours. Both management and workers use various tools and techniques to pressurize each other. For instance, while the management may opt for lockouts, workers resort to strikes and gheraos. Similarly, various methods are adopted to ease the tension in the employee-employer relationship; important among them is tripartism.
Tripartism promotes the idea of partnership between the labor and the management. The two main principles of tripartism are:
• Management and workers should share a relationship of partnership rather than that of employer and employee. They should work in synergy towards the building up of the national economy.
• It holds the whole community liable for protecting the interests of workers and ensures that workers are not deprived of their due share in gains of economic development.
As the name suggests, tripartism involves three parties that participate in reaching a consensus or peace pertaining to the matters of industrial dispute. The three participants are the trade union, employer and the government, which conduct meetings to review all aspects of a situation, advice one another and try reaching a consensus.
The government plays the most important part in this process; it initiates in bringing the management and representatives of workers on the same platform. The Annual Labor Conference is the chief instrument for tripartism. It initiated proposals like worker participation in management, worker education and minimum wages legislation.
Custodial horror is a daily occurrence for women prisoners in India. After all, what can women do when their ‘custodians’ become their violators? The question is very intimidating and frightening but this is actually happening to women in India. There have been innumerable cases where ‘men-in-khaki,’ as we usually refer to the police as, have been caught outraging the women prisoners’ modesty, inside and outside the jail. Worse, women prisoners in India are not just raped but they are even murdered by policemen. The state of Maharashtra has registered the highest number of custodial deaths i.e. 316, followed by Uttar Pradesh (255) and BJP-ruled Gujarat (190) in the last 16 years. According to the National Human Rights Commission, there are 2318 cases of custody deaths across the country, all of which have been committed by policemen, since October 1993.
Women in India are hesitant even to lodge a complaint if it means they have to go and file the complaint in a police station. Now, consider the High Court’s verdict on August 26, 1994, in Mathura rape case 1974, regarding the safety of women in custody had brought some relief to the people of the state and, particularly to social initiatives. When the case reached the Supreme Court, the apex court held that policemen should try to take a lady constable along while arresting women. However, if it seems reasonable they can go ahead without a lady constable to arrest women at any time of the day. This can be done by the police when there is a delay in arresting or it is impractical to take a lady constable along. Activists and women in India and legal activists objected to apex court’s ruling because they fear their safety in police custody. This is not unusual. You can ask any Indian woman you know as to whether she will feel safe in police custody even for a few hours. The ground reality is based on the ‘unprofessional’ approach of policemen towards women.
Moreover, the National Commission for Women has made some recommendations on the basis of reports of the All India Committee for Jail Reforms and the National Expert Committee on Women Prisoners including:
• No woman should be arrested from sunset to sunrise.
• Arresting should only take place in the presence of a lady constable.
• There should be separate all-women police stations, separate lock-ups and jails for women. In Sheela Barse vs State of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court held that there should be separate detention places for women suspects. The apex court also held that their interrogation should only be carried out in the presence of lady police officers.