Thursday, October 9, 2014

Clarity on public holiday on 15th October 2014 for State Vidhansabha Election in Maharashtra

There is buzz whether private organisations should shut offices on 15th October 2014 due to state Vidhansabha election in Maharahtra (and similar cases may arise during other state legislature, local bodies i.e. Gram Panchayat, Nagar Palika (Municipal Council) and Mahanagar Palika (Municipal Corporation) elections. 

I hope this article will clarify to all of my friends in HR fraternity and business fraternity.

  1. Elections to various Assembly Constituencies in Maharashtra will be held on Wednesday, 15th October, 2014.
  2. Members are informed that the Representation of People Act, 1951 was amended in the year 1996 by the Representation of People (Amendment) Act, 1996 by insertion of a new Section 135-B providing for grant of a paid holiday to employees on the day of poll. The relevant section is reproduced overleaf for the information of Members. In view of the insertion of Section 135-B and subject to sub-section 4 thereof, it is now necessary for employers in any business, trade, industrial undertaking or any other establishments to grant a paid holiday to employees who are entitled to vote at the election. It is not compulsory for any Company to ! keep its establishment/s closed on the election day.
  3. The Government of Maharashtra has, in the past, issued notifications declaring the days of elections to be holidays under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
  4. Members may please note that the Representation of People Act, 1951, being a Central enactment, would be binding insofar as the applicability of Section 135-B to all persons employed in any business, trade, industrial undertaking or any other establishments for the purpose of granting a paid holiday on the day of election.
  5. Every employee, entitled to vote, will be eligible to avail of a paid holiday on the day of polling in the Constituency in which he is entitled to exercise his franchise.
  6. Such of the employees who fall within the ambit of Sub-section-4 of Section 135-B will not be entitled to a paid holiday. However, they will be required to be given suitable time off to exercise their franchise.
  7. Employees may be asked to intimate their Department Heads, the place and date on which they are eligible to vote to enable them to appropriately avail of the paid holiday.
Section 135-B of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 : Grant of paid holiday to employees on the day of polling – (inserted by Act 21 of 1996 with effect from 1st August, 1996)

  1. Every person employed in any business, trade, industrial undertaking or any other establishment and entitled to vote at an election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State shall, on the day of poll, be granted a holiday.
  2. No deduction or abatement of the wages of any such person shall be made on account of a holiday having been granted in accordance with sub-section (I) and if such person is employed on the basis that he would not ordinarily receive wages for such a day, he shall nonetheless be paid for such day the wages he would have drawn had not a holiday been granted to him on that day.
  3. If an employer contravenes the prov! isions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), then such employer shall be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs.500/-.
  4. This section shall not apply to any elector whose absence may cause danger or substantial loss in respect of the employment in which he is engaged.

So, to summarise:

1. This can be treated as paid holidays. This means,  Organisation should not deduct salary for the same.
2. Organisation need not to shut their offices and those who are not eligible to vote may work. 
3. So far, when I spoke to many people in the industry, they are giving relaxation in time but nobody is shutting their offices.
4. The gazette notification from Maharashra Government issued on 7th October is applicable to government and semi government organisation only. It is not applicable on private organisation.
however, a separate notification from CEO, Maharashtra has confirmed that every organisation has to treat this as a paid holiday. Its upto the organisation whether they want to cancel any other holidays or treat this as an additional holiday. 

Please refer

You may download the official gazzette from following (please click)

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