Media Release: India
April 4, 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses
its concern that the Supreme Court of India has decided to defer the hearing on
the most recent wage award for journalists and other newspaper employees until
On April 2, the Supreme Court bench that began hearing
the matter in February expressed its inability to continue since the senior of
two judges on the bench is due to retire on April 18. The matter has now been
posted for hearing on July 9, before a new bench to the constituted by the
Chief Justice of India.
According to the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), a
constituent unit of the IFJ-affiliated Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU), counsel
representing the confederation of journalists’ unions at the Supreme Court
reportedly argued the case for a quick disposal of the matter, but was unable
to win the concurrence of the bench.
The G.R. Majithia Wage Boards for Journalists and
Non-Journalists submitted its recommendations on an all-round increase of
levels of pay for newspaper workers in December 2010. After due deliberation,
India’s Union Cabinet formally approved these recommendations in October 2011.
Newspaper enterprises, both individually and
collectively through the Indian Newspaper Society, had meanwhile filed a number
of petitions before the country’s highest court, claiming an infringement of their
fundamental rights in the statutory wage fixation process. After several
procedural difficulties, hearings in this batch of petitions were conducted for
two weeks in February this year.
The DUJ reports that the prospect of a further delay
in mandating a new deal for journalists and other newspaper employees,
coincides with a new phase of enforcing “coercive contracts” by newspaper
companies that have so far had a good record of honouring statutory wage
The IFJ joins partners and affiliates in India in this
moment of disappointment.
The IFJ urges the Indian government as one part of the
tripartite wage bargaining process to show a greater sense of urgency in having
the matter heard and disposed of in accordance with established judicial
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
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