The Karnataka government in a submission to the High Court on Friday stated that it has withdrawn the May 22 notification which increased the working hours of workers in the state from nine hours to ten hours per day and from 48 hours to 60 hours per week.
The Karnataka High Court had earlier told the government that if it does not withdraw the notification, the court will issue a stay on it.
"Having examined the provisions further, the Government of Karnataka now intends to withdraw the said notification Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 5 of Factories Act, 1948 (Act No. 63 of 1948), the Government of Karnataka hereby withdraws the notification," stated a notice by Sandhya L Nayak, Deputy Secretary of Labour Department.
The High Court was hearing a plea filed by Maruthi H, an activist who works with construction workers and pourakarmikas, against the increase in work hours.
The court had during an earlier hearing stated that the lockdown is not a ‘public emergency’ as per Section 5 of the Factories Act, which allows the state to exempt any factory or class or description of factories from all or any of the provisions of this Act. According to the Act, “public emergency” means a grave emergency whereby the security of India or of any part of the territory thereof is threatened, whether by war or external aggression or internal disturbance.
In its earlier notification, Karnataka had said Section 51 and 54 no longer apply to factories. The provisions of section 51 states that no adult worker can work for more than eight hours per day and section 54 sets the maximum working hours at nine hours per day.
The All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) had criticised the government decision, accusing it of driving workers to the path of bonded labour.
Previously, the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh government too had withdrawn a similar order increasing work hours for labourers.