You are on page 1of 14

WORKING JOURNALISTS AND

OTHER NEWSPAPER EMPLOYEES


(CONDITION OF SERVICE) AND
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
ACT, 1955

MADE BY: AAROHAN BHASKAR


INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF THE
ACT
The Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill was
introduced in the Parliament as with the growth of newspaper industry it was felt
necessary to have a uniform law relating to the conditions of service of working
journalist and other persons employed in newspaper establishments. The Act provides
for regulation for certain conditions of service of working journalists and other
persons employed in newspaper establishments. The Act provides that for the purpose
of fixing or revising rates of wages in respect of working journalists, the Central
Government as and when necessary shall constitute Wage Board.
After receipt of the recommendations of the Board, the Central Government is
required to make an order in terms of recommendations and this order becomes
applicable on the class of news paper establishments for which the Board has
recommended.
PERIOD NOTICE IN RETRENCHMENT ( S 3 & 4 )
The definition of retrenchment was not included in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 in its original form. It was
inserted by Amendment to the Act in 1953 and has been defined under Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 as:
” the termination by the employer of the service of a workman for any reason whatsoever, otherwise than as
a punishment inflicted by way of disciplinary action, but does not include -
(a) voluntary retirement of the workman, or
(b) retirement of the workman on reaching the age of superannuating if the contract of employment
between the employer and the workman concerned contains a stipulation in that behalf; or
(b) termination of the service of the workman as a result of the non-removal of the contract of employment
between the employer and the workman concerned on its expiry or of such contract being terminated under
a stipulation in that behalf contained therein; or
(c) termination of the service of a workman on the ground of continued ill-health;
It is clear from the section 3 of the Act makes it clear that notice period applicable in case of retrenchment
of working journalists shall be six months, in the case of an editor, and three months, in the case of any other
working journalist.
PAYMENT OF GRATUITY (SECTION 5 AND 5A )
Section 5 deals with the Payment of Gratuity for Working Journalist with three years
of service on termination(other than by punishment) or retirement, or voluntarily
resigns, or dies in service. Under above circumstances the working journalist shall be
paid 15 days average pay for every completed year of service or part in excess of
6 months. Section 5A which was inserted in 1962 Amendment, says that a working
journalist can nominate a nominee to receive gratuity, in which case the nominee
alone shall be entitled to receive the same, except where he predeceases the
working journalist.
HOURS OF WORK ( SECTION 6 )
No working journalist shall be required or allowed to work in any newspaper
establishment for more than one hundred and forty-four hours during any period of
four consecutive weeks, exclusive of the time for meals.
Every working journalist shall be allowed during any period of seven consecutive
days rest for a period of not less than twenty-four consecutive hours, the period
between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M. being included therein.
FIXATION OF WAGE RATES ( S 8,9,10,11&12 )
The Central Government is empowered to fix or revise the wage rates for the
working journalists through Wage Boards. (s 9). Wage Board has to be constituted
with 3 representatives of employers, working journalists, four independent persons
under chairmanship of High Court or Supreme Court former Judge. The Board has to
issue Notice to newspaper establishments, working journalists and other persons to
give representations for fixing wages for working journalists, based on cost of living
comparable employment etc. (s 10). Wage Board has Powers of Industrial Tribunal
under ID Act (S11) On recommendations of the Wage Board, the Center can issue an
order notifying the wage fixation. The Center has power to enforce recommendations
of the Wage Board under Section 12. Center can modify the recommendations
without altering the character of the recommendations. The Working Journalists
entitled to wages at rates not less than those specified.(s 13)
MAJITHIA WAGE BOARD
The Government of India constituted two wage boards (Majithia Wage Boards), one
for working journalists and other for non-journalists newspaper employees in 2007 as
sixth Wage Board under the Chairmanship of Justice Majithia as per the provisions of
The Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service)
and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955. The Majithia Wage Boards submitted their
final report to the Government of India on 31st Dec., 2010. The Government
accepted the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Boards and accordingly
notified it vide S.O. No. 2532(E) dated 11/11/2011. The recommendations have
been uploaded in the Ministry’s web-site and in public domain.
WRIT PETITIONS FILED
The notification is subject to the outcome of the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 246, of 2011
in the matter of ABP Pvt. Ltd. & ANR Vs. Union of India & others. In addition 11 other
Writ Petitions have also been filed upto Sept., 2012 before the Hon’ble Supreme
Court by the different employers of newspaper industry regarding constitutional
validity of the Wage Boards and not to implement the recommendations of the
Majithia Wage Boards. There was no stay ordered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on
the implementation of the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Boards. The
hearing in all the writ petitions commenced on 5/2/2013 and case came up for
hearing from time to time till 9 Jan. 2014 when the Hon’ble Supreme Court reserved
the judgment.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court has delivered the judgment on 7.2.2014 in the WP No.
246 of 2011 and others tagged Court Cases with the directions that: “all the writ
petitions have been dismissed and the wages as revised / determined shall be
payable from 11.11.2011 when the Government of India notified the
recommendations of the Majithia Wage Boards. All the arrears up to March, 2014
shall be paid to all the eligible persons in four equal instalments within a period of
one year from 7.2.2014 and continue to pay the revised wages from April, 2014
onwards.” The above decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court has been conveyed to all
the State Governments/UTs in March 2014.
RECOVERY OF MONEY FROM EMPLOYER THROUGH
GOVERNMENT ( S 17(1) & (2) )
Section 17(1) provides for Recovery of money from employer, through state,
Collector, or by reference to Labour Court. Where any amount is due under this Act
to a newspaper employee from an employer, the newspaper employee himself, or
any person authorized by him in writing in this, can make an application to the State
Government or such authority as the State Government may specify in this behalf,
which shall issue a certificate for the amount to collector, and the Collector shall
proceed to recover that amount in the same manner as arrears of land revenue. (2)If
there is any dispute regarding amount due, State Government may on its own motion
or upon application made to it, refer the question to any Labour court. The decision
of the Labour court may be executed through the collector.
PENALTY ( SECTION 8)
If any employer contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or any rule or order
made thereunder, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to two hundred
rupees.
Whoever, having been convicted of any offence under this Act, is again convicted of
an offence involving the contravention of the same provision, shall be punishable with
fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.
EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS PVT. LTD & ORS. V. UNION OF
INDIA

This case concerns writ petitions challenging the levy of an import duty on newsprint.
The petitioners contended that the duty led to an increase in cost of newspapers and
a drop in circulation, thereby adversely affecting freedom of speech and expression.
The Supreme Court of India allowed the petitions and directed the government to re-
examine its taxation policy in light of the effect on freedom of the press. The purpose
of the Working Journalist Act was to ameliorate conditions of newspaper workmen. It
did not affect fundamental right to freedom of press directly though it might impose
greater financial burden and may result in closing down some newspaper.
BENNETT COLEMAN & CO. (P) LTD V. PUNYA PRIYA
DAS GUPTA
In this case, the petitioner, after resigning from the company, claimed his dues
for the leave period. While receiving his full and final settlement from the
company, he signed a receipt which had no mention of the payment of dues
during the leave period. The Supreme Court held that the petitioner can claim
his dues for the leave period, since he has not waived his claims for such dues in
the full and final settlement.