Read Judgment:  GOMANTAK MAZDOOR SANGH Vs.  STATE OF GOA AND ANR. 

LE Correspondent

New Delhi, May 11, 2022: The Supreme Court has held that once there was no mistake in the revised minimum wages which was determined after consultation with the Minimum Wage Advisory Board, the same could not have been corrected in exercise of powers under Section 10 of the  Minimum Wages Act, 1948

A Division Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarthana allowed the appeal  challenging the Errata Notification dated July 14, 2016 issued by the State of Goa wherein it modified its earlier notification dated May 23 and 24, 2016 through which the State of Goa fixed the rates of minimum wages in various sectors.

Relevant facts for the perusal of the present appeal were that the State of Goa determined the minimum  rate of wages payable to various categories of employees engaged in various trades in the Scheduled  Employment through notifications dated May 23 and 24, 2016. 

Thereafter, the State issued the Errata Notification dated July 14, 2016 by which it was notified that the minimum wages would be the basic rate of tax – an all inclusive rate excluding the special allowance. It was this notification that was assailed by the appellant by way of writ petition before the High Court.  The High Court accepted the submission on behalf of the State that it committed a genuine mistake in the notifications issued earlier.  It was this impugned judgment and order that was challenged by the appellant by way of appeal before the Apex Court. 

The Bench presumed that the Errata notification had been issued in exercise of powers under Section 10 of the Act, 1948. There was no clerical mistake at all and a conscious decision was taken while issuing the notification dated 23/24 May, 2019 and therefore, the same could not have been corrected in exercise of powers under Section 10.  The Court also relied on the case of Master Construction Co. Lts. v. State of Orissa, wherein the difference between arithmetical mistake and clerical mistake was expounded.

Reverting back to the facts of the present case, the Court noted that a conscious decision was taken by the State Government after thorough consultation with the Minimum Wage Advisory Board and it was only after consultation the minimum wages were revised and determined in exercise of power under Section 4 (1) (I).  Thus, in view of the same the Court observed that there was no presence of arithmetical and/ or clerical mistake which would have supported the correction under Section 10 of the Act, 1948. 

Thus, it was observed that the Errata Notification was passed wholly without jurisdiction and was contrary to the relevant provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1984. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and the earlier notification issued by the State was restored. 

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