HC order on minimum wages for cluster bus drivers not implemented: Transport Commissioner summoned

New Delhi: Irked over non-compliance of its direction to raise pay of the drivers of buses run under the DIMTS cluster scheme in accordance with the hike in minimum wages, the Delhi High Court directed the transport commissioner to be present before it tomorrow.

Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said non-compliance of its December 6, 2017 order had led to over 700 cluster buses being off the city roads today as the drivers were on strike.

“You (Delhi government) cannot be at war with everyone, the citizens, your officers. Don’t do this to the citizens of Delhi. This is clearly contumacious,” the court said after it was informed that while the transport minister was in favour of hiking the drivers’ pay, the department officials had not taken a decision.

Warning of initiating contempt action against the officials concerned, the bench directed that the transport commissioner be present before it tomorrow morning.

The direction came on an application by one of the concessionaires running the cluster buses in the city who claimed that the government till date had not taken a decision on implementing the court’s order and as a result 700 of its drivers were on strike.

Therefore, an equal number of buses were also off the road, the concessionaire — A B Grain Spirits Pvt Ltd — told the bench.

The court in its December 6 order of last year had said the Delhi government cannot treat the drivers, provided by concessionaires running the cluster buses, differently from the conductors being supplied by state-run agencies like the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).

It had asked the government to make necessary amendments in the concessionaire agreement, with regard to the amount payable in terms of the minimum wage notifications issued, and to “consequently increase the wages”.

The bench had said that the petitioners (concessionaires) shall calculate the amount payable and a copy of the calculation sheet be given to the government which “shall effect payment of the amount”.

Reportedly, of the over 5,500 public transport buses in the national capital, about 2,000 run under the cluster scheme and the remaining are run by the DTC.

As per the minimum wages scheme, a skilled person ought to receive a pay of Rs 16,182 per month while semi-skilled Rs 14,698.