New Delhi, Jul 11 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Centre’s request to transfer more than 140 cases challenging the constitutional validity of the Bonus Payments (Amendment) Act 2015, filed in no less than 18 high course in the highest court or any high court declaring the likelihood of a difference of opinion, cannot be grounds for transfer. A panel of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath said that in view of the subject matter and the variety of issues that may arise in this case, it seems appropriate to have the advice of the high courts before questions of law . are taken into consideration by this Court if the occasion arises. She said such a path seems to better serve the cause of justice, including protecting the right to seek judicial review after the trial court’s decision. The bench said: ”Accordingly, the motion to transfer the motions in question is denied and all interim stay orders are set aside while providing that the parties shall be permitted to apply to the respective high courts for a hearing and disposal. quick to wait. written requests. In this regard, we also call on the respective High Courts to deal with the cases diligently, while giving them reasonable priority.” The High Court stated that it was not necessary to multiply the references to various other orders made by this Court relating to the application for transfer because, ultimately, the decision whether or not to transfer, to this Court or to a High Court, was taken by that Court. in exercising its jurisdiction under Section 139A of the Constitution of India with reference to the given set of facts and circumstances. “No hard and fast rules or structured formulas are provided or seem desirable; a full view of all relevant surrounding facts and factors is the best guide for the exercise of this jurisdiction under Section 139A of the Constitution of India,” he said. He stated that in the present set of facts and circumstances, for what has been remarked and discussed, the court is clearly of the opinion that the transfer of the pending motions pending from the respective high courts is not necessary. “The likelihood of a difference of opinion, given the status framework itself, cannot be grounds for transfer. Similarly, there does not seem to be any reason to transfer cases to a single High Court; rather, it seems fair and appropriate that petitions before the High Courts be decided by reference to their own factual context and the applicable law. Therefore, we do not consider it necessary to deal with the cases cited in support of the proposed transfer of the cases to a single High Court…” the bench said. The Bonus Payments (Amendment) Act 2015 introduced two major changes to the Bonus Payments Act 1965, one being the amendment to clause (13) of Section 2, increasing the limit of salary of Rs 10,000 to Rs 21,000 per month for the purpose of coverage under the Act. The other amendment was to increase the salary cap for the calculation of the bonus under Article 12 from Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,000 per month or the minimum wage for the intended job as set by the relevant government , whichever is greater.
These amendments were given retroactive effect in section 1 of the Amendment Act 2015 by providing that it shall be deemed to have come into force on 1 April 2014. The validity of the amendments has been challenged in various pending petitions before different High Courts. mainly on two counts: firstly, against the requirement to pay the bonus in accordance with the amended provisions with retroactive effect from the year 2014-2015, and secondly, against the validity of the link with the minimum wage with regard to the premium calculation. The Center pointed out that the petitions filed with various High Courts challenging the Amendment Act 2015 have been granted with different interim orders in some of the petitions as some of the High Courts have ordered the Amendment not to take effect. only from FY 2015-16 while a High Court ordered to implement the same from FY 2016-17. He had said that another high court had ordered that no coercive measures be taken against the applicants. Seeking the transfer of cases from different High Courts, the Center pointed to the divergence of views. The bench said: “Having carefully considered the competing arguments and considered the record, even where we agree with the arguments that the motions in brief relating to this batch of cases could involve essentially the same legal issues regarding the constitutional validity of the Premium Payments (Amendment) Act 2015 but, for various other relevant reasons, we are not inclined to transfer these matters to this Court or even to a High Court.” He said that as part of of the 1965 Act and with respect to the amendments in question, discrepancies in some of the questions and some of the factual aspects are likely to arise due to the innate role of the appropriate government in the final calculation of the premium in respect of certain employees under the amended provisions.
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