A Bench of the Honble Supreme Court has observed that the plea highlighting mass lay-offs and salary cuts in the media amid the coronavirus pandemic in India has raised “serious” issues, and as such, the Bench headed by Hon’ble Mr Justice N B Ramana and including Hon’ble Mr Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hon’ble Mr Justice B R Gavai, has issued notice to the Centre.
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves represented the petitioners, the National Alliance of Journalists (NAJ), Delhi Union of Journalists, and the Brihan Mumbai Union of Journalists had approached the Supreme Court on the 16th of April, informing it that media industry employees were either issued termination notices or had been sent on indefinite unpaid leave, or had received salary cuts, thereby having been subject to inhuman treatment with impunity.
The petition listed several cases of such conduct by media houses, and had prayed that all media houses be directed to treat all termination notices, resignations received pursuant to request, wage reductions, and directions to go on leave without pay as suspended with immediate effect, till further orders of the Honble Supreme Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who, along with P. S. Sudheer, AOR, represented the Union of India, requested the Bench, which indicated it would issue notice to the Defender, to hand him a copy of the petition to enable him to respond. Justice Sanjay Kihan Kaul replied that there were other unions too that were saying the same thing. He observed, “The question is if business does not start, how long will they sustain? The issue needs hearing.”
The petitioners were represented by Sr Advocate Colin Gonsalves, and AOR Satya Mitra.