The High Court today questioned the legality of the gazette notification containing the ninth wage board award for journalists and workers of newspapers and news agencies.
The HC issued a rule asking the respondent to explain in four weeks why the gazette notification on the ninth wage board award would not be declared illegal.
The cabinet committee on the ninth wage board, information and labour secretaries and chairman of the ninth wage board have been made respondents to the rule.
The HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal came up with the rule following a supplementary write petition filed by Newspaper Owners' Association of Bangladesh (Noab), challenging the legality of the gazette notification of the wage board.
Petitioner lawyer Advocate Md Yousuf Ali told The Daily Star that the ninth wage board made the recommendation for increasing salary and facilities for the journalists and new papers workers in violation of the relevant law.
It is uniliteral as the recommendation made without hearing the objection of Noab as well as the journalists and workers of the newspapers and news agencies.
The lebour ministry is entitled to form the wage board for the journalist and newspapers workers but it has been formed by the ministry of information which is also a violation of the relevant law, the lawyer added.
Earlier, the ministry of information on September 12 published gazette notification effecting the ninth wage board.
The Supreme Court on August 20, cleared the way for the government to publish the gazette notification on implementing the recommendation of ninth wage board for journalists.
The apex court stayed for eight weeks the High Court order that issued status quo on publication of the gazette.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order following a petition filed by the government, seeking a stay on the HC order.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the government while advocate AF Hasan Arif appeared for the Newspaper Owners’ Association of Bangladesh (Noab).
On August 6, the HC issued the status quo for two months. The court also issued a rule asking the respondents to explain why the unilateral finalisation of the award by the ninth wage board without giving the stakeholders opportunity to raise objections to the recommendations should not be declared illegal.
On Monday, the SC bench fixed yesterday for passing the order.
The government on January 29 last year constituted the ninth wage board to propose enhanced salary and other benefits for journalists and other employees of newspapers and news agencies.
On July 25 this year, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said a cabinet committee has finalised its report for endorsement.
Quader, who heads the seven-member cabinet committee, had told newsmen that “after the final approval [by the cabinet], a gazette will be published” for its implementation.