Commtt., C.L., Labour Vs. Union of India & Ors  INSC 54 (13 January
REPORTABLE IN THE
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION WRIT PETITION(C) NO.318 OF
2006 VERSUS ORDER The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of
Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (for short 'The Act'), was
passed by the Parliament and in this writ petition it is alleged that many of
the provisions of the enactment are not put in practice and the respective
authorities have not complied with the statutory provisions.
All the State
Governments and Union territories are impleaded as parties in this writ
petition. The Act is intended to benefit the unorganized workers in the
construction sector. Under Section 6 of the Act, the appropriate Government has
to appoint registering officers and under Section 7 of the Act every employer
shall register their establishment.
The building workers
are given various benefits and in order to enable the workers to avail the
benefits, each State has to constitute a State Welfare Board. The Board shall
consist of a Chairman nominated by the Central Government, and such other
Members, not exceeding 15, as may be appointed by the State Government. The
Board shall appoint a Secretary as its Chief Executive Officer.
2 Under Section 22
of the Act, the Board may provide immediate assistance to the beneficiaries in
case of accident, and also pay compensation to those workers who had completed
the age of sixty years. The Board may also sanction loans and advances to the
beneficiaries and also to give financial assistance for the education of children
of the beneficiaries and also to give the benefit of group insurance schemes.
The Board can also grant maternity benefit to the female beneficiaries. A
construction welfare fund has to be constituted and there are other provisions
also to regulate the conditions of service of construction workers. There are
also provisions to take care of the safety and health conditions of the
workers. In order to implement the provisions there shall be inspecting staff
and certain penal provisions are also in the Act to punish those who act in
violation of the provisions of enactment.
The Parliament has
also passed the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996
for the purpose of levy and collection of cess and Section 3 of the Act
envisages that- there shall be levied and collected a cess for the purposes of
the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and
Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, at such rate not exceeding two percent; but
not less than one per cent of the cost of construction incurred by an employer,
as the Central Government may specify for him to time. Section 62 of the
Building and 3 Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act says that proper
Rules are to be framed by the Government after consultation with the expert
The learned counsel
appearing for the writ petitioners filed a chart before us indicating the steps
that had been taken by the various state governments. It says that many of the
governments had not taken steps as per the provisions of the Act. Though some
of the state governments have collected cess but the benefits have not been
fully passed on to the construction workers. Some of the State governments have
not constituted either the State Advisory Committee or the expert committee or
the Welfare Board as envisaged under the Act. The Delhi Government has framed
detailed Rules, namely, the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers
(Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2002. These Rules
exclusively deal with the matter and gives various model forms also for
compliance of the provisions of the Act. The State Governments and Union
Territories which have not framed the rules as per Section 62 of the Act can
very well take the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of
Employment and Conditions of Service) Rules 2002, as a model and the same can
be adopted for the purpose of this Act. Copy of the same is available on
internet and the same can be had from the Government of Delhi.
We direct the Chief
Secretary of the respective States and 4 Secretary (Labour) of each States and
the Union Territories to take timely steps as per the provisions of the Act, if
not already done. We would like to have the appraisal report in the first week
of May as to what steps have been taken in this regard. If any of the State
Government has not done anything pursuant to the Act, urgent steps are to be
taken so that the benefits of this legislation shall not go waste. Otherwise
the unorganized workers of the construction sector will be denied the benefit
of the Act.
Post in the 1st week
of May, 2009.
A copy of the order
be sent to the Chief Secretary of all the States and Secretary (Labour) of each
State and the Union Territories for taking further action in this regard.