The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to respond to a petition seeking social security benefits for gig workers employed with food delivery and taxi aggregator apps, Bar and Bench reported.

The petition filed by Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers has sought the benefits for those working for firms like Swiggy, Zomato, Uber, Ola and others. The Union ministries of electronics, commerce and industry and food and public distribution have also been made parties to the plea.

The petition argued that these employees should be entitled to social security benefits guaranteed for unorganised workers under the Unorganised Workers’ Social Welfare Security Act, 2008.

The plea stated that the government had denied these people of their fundamental rights by failing to register them under the Act, Bar and Bench reported.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, representing the petitioners, told the court that under the Social Welfare Security Act, the gig workers should get benefits like health insurance, maternity benefits, pension, old age assistance, disability allowance and Covid-19 vaccination.

The petitioners said that the respondent companies claim that they do not have any employment contracts with the gig workers, but are in a professional partnership them.

“If such a claim were to be accepted, this would be inconsistent with the purpose of social welfare legislation,” the petitioners said.

The petitioners also cited a judgment of the United Kingdom Supreme Court from March which had held that Uber drivers are entitled to minimum wage, paid annual leave and other workers’ rights.