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Govt introduces Bill to amend Working Journalists Act

The Delhi government on Thursday introduced a Bill proposing amendments to the Working Journalists Act that envisaged imprisonment of up to one year and penalty extending to Rs 10,000 for any violations.

Tabling the Bill in the Delhi Assembly, Labour Minister Gopal Rai said the “shortcomings” in the present Act were coming in the way of implementations of several recommendations of the Majithia Wage Board for journalists and non-journalists.

“The working journalists and other newspaper employees raised several issues regarding payment of salaries and also lack of proper provisions to enforce reasonable wages or salary to working journalists and other newspaper employees,” Rai said.

The Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions(Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015 seeks to address the “shortcomings” in providing adequate compensation and strengthens the penal provision in cases of non-adherence to the Act.

The proposed Amendments to section 18 of the Act stipulates imprisonment of up to six months and fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 for non-payment of the due wages to an employee.

Further, they envisage more stringent penal provision under section 18 (1) and 18(1A) which include punishment of imprisonment as well as provisions of enhanced fine which will provide an effective deterrence for the violators of the Act.

According to this amendment, the words “punishable with fine which may extend to Rs five hundred” shall be substituted by the words “punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to Rs 10,000”.
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