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Ensure registration of unorganized sector workers: High Court directs Comm Secy Labor Deptt J&K

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Srinagar: With a view to ensuring that the government provides workers in the unorganized sector with socio-economic security the High Court today directed the Commissioner Secretary Labor Department J&K to expeditiously ensure their registration.

Disposing of a public interest petition through advocate Syed Musaib on the matter, Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Vinod Chatterji Koul directed the petitioner to file a comprehensive representation venting therein its grievances in Public Interest before the concerned authorities.

“The officer (Commissioner Secretary J&K Labor Department Union Territory of J&K) shall consider it in accordance with law most expeditiously and ensure that the registration commences at the earliest”.

Referring to the National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labor, the lawyer preferred the petition for the benefit of Kashmiri workers in the unorganized sector. He cited a direction by the Supreme Court to the Chief Secretaries of the States and Union Territories to start registration of 10% estimated number of workers every month starting from January 2019.

The apex court had directed the chief secretaries to submit their res-respective reports by 31st of January, 2019.

The lawyer said that the J&K government was yet to begin the process of work of registration in the union territory.

The division bench of the J&K High Court observed “if the registration is not being done, since the Supreme Court is seized of the mater, it will be taken care of by the Supreme Court itself”.

The petitioner had pointed out that under the provisions of the Unorganized Workers Social Security Act, 2008; there is a provision of registration of workers in the Unorganized Sector for social security benefits. Therefore, it is mandatory upon the state and union territories authorities to register these workers, he said.

Section 10 of the Act provides that every unorganized worker shall be eligible for registration subject to fulfilment of certain conditions, he told the court.

The court said that it was unable to ascertain if the unorganized workers, desirous of being registered, fulfil ‘certain’ conditions and whether they had applied for registration in the prescribed form.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the registration is available only online and “the site of the Union Territory for this purpose is completely blank”.

D C Raina, the advocate general of J&K claimed “there is no difficulty for registration as per the requirement of law but for the unprecedented pandemic”.

It would be proper if the petitioner submits a representation to the Commissioner Secretary, Labor, who will look into the matter and in case the site is not working, it would be made workable, assured Raina.

The court then relegated the petitioner before the Commissioner Secretary, Labor of the Union Territory of J&K.

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