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Building Labour problems – contempt of court =most of the states have not complied with the directions issued by this Court. They had failed to discharge their statutory duties under the provisions of the Building & Other Construction Worker (Regulations of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (for short, `the Act’) and the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996 (for short `the Cess Act’), thus, they should be punished for violating the orders of this Court. = audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has not been conducted of the funds placed at the disposal of the concerned authority. We may also notice that large funds are lying with the said Welfare Boards/authorities, but have not been disbursed. The possibility of these amounts being diverted by the state authority for other heads of expenditure in the respective states/union territories cannot be ruled out. Resultantly, while reiterating our earlier orders, we also issue the following directions for their immediate compliance: a) All the State Welfare Boards shall be subjected to audit by the CAG within two months from today. All the States, Union Territories and the State Boards to initiate the process and ensure its completion under the provisions of Section 27 of the Act. [8]

English: Construction workers at Mirebalais Ho...

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATION NO.6
IN
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.318 OF 2006
National Campaign Committee for Central

Legislation on Construction Labour … Petitioner
Versus
Union of India & Ors. … Respondents
WITH
Contempt Petition (C) Nos.41/2011 in WP (C) No.318/2006
Contempt Petition (C) Nos.42/2011 in WP (C) No.318/2006
Contempt Petition (C) Nos.43/2011 in WP (C) No.318/2006
Contempt Petition (C) Nos.44/2011 in WP (C) No.318/2006

 

 

O R D E R

 

This order is in continuation to the all the previous orders

 

passed by this Court, more particularly, the orders dated 18th

 

January, 2011, 15th March, 2011, 25th April, 2011 and 28th

 

November, 2011. Vide Order dated 15th March, 2011, this Court –

 
[1]
dealt with Contempt Petition Nos.41 – 44 of 2011 filed by the

 

petitioner and passed certain directions including that the Labour

 

Secretary of the concerned States should be present in the Court on

 

the next date of hearing. Thereafter, vide Order dated 25th April,

 

2011, the States of Nagaland, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Uttar

 

Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa and Uttarakhand, Union Territories of

 

Lakshadweep and Chandigarh and Union of India were required to

 

comply with certain directions as well as to file affidavits of

 

compliance.

 

The petitioner in Contempt Petition Nos. 41 – 44 of 2011 had

 

contended that most of the states have not complied with the

 

directions issued by this Court. They had failed to discharge their

 

statutory duties under the provisions of the Building & Other

 

Construction Worker (Regulations of Employment & Conditions of

 

Service) Act, 1996 (for short, `the Act’) and the Building and Other

 

Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996 (for short `the Cess

 

Act’), thus, they should be punished for violating the orders of this

 

Court. However, after passing of the above orders, most of the

 

states have filed affidavits, showing status of compliance with the

 

 

[2]
directions issued by this Court as well as performance of their

 

statutory duties.

 

In view of the persistent defaults and unacceptable conduct of

 

the officers of the concerned states, we passed the following order

 

on 28th November, 2011:-

 

“Since almost every State is in contempt, we

have no option but to take further steps in the

matter. However, in order to give opportunity

to the States, the matter is being adjourned to

the last week of December, 2011, to enable

each defaulting State to file it’s reply as to

why contempt action should not be taken

against the concerned officers.”

 

Still, a few States have neither filed affidavits nor have they

 

placed on record any documentation to demonstrate that they have

 

fully complied with the directions of this Court and have completely

 

discharged their statutory obligations under the provisions of the

 

Act. Keeping in view the fact that, despite our order dated 28th

 

November, 2011, these states have failed to show obedience to the

 

orders of this Court, the matter was again placed before this Court

 

on 16th December, 2011, on which date we had reserved the

 

contempt petitions for orders.

 

 

[3]
Category – I –
Under Category-I, we will be dealing with the States of Andhra

 

Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. All these states

 

had filed their respective affidavits in the years 2010 and 2009

 

respectively. Thereafter, they have not even cared to file further

 

affidavits as directed by the orders of this Court. Though, all the

 

above States have constituted Welfare Boards, have registered

 

workers and establishments in accordance with the provisions of

 

the Act, notified the prescribed authorities for collection and

 

disbursement of cess under the Cess Act and have collected some

 

cess, however, they have not collected the required quantum of cess

 

and have also not distributed the amount to the registered

 

applicants in furtherance to implementation of the scheme framed.

 

The petitioner has also placed on record material to show that these

 

states are defaulting in this regard. Before we take any action

 

against the officers responsible for enforcing the schemes and

 

proper collection and disbursement of cess, we would grant a last

 

and final opportunity to these states to file affidavits of compliance

 

within four weeks from today, subject to payment of Rs.10,000/-

 
[4]
each, as costs. The cost shall be payable to the Supreme Court

 

Legal Services Committee.
Category – II

 

Under Category-II, we would pass directions in relation to the

 

states which have constituted Welfare Boards, notified the statutory

 

authorities responsible and have even collected the cess, however,

 

they have not disbursed the cess amounts to the registered

 

applicants for the reason that the competent authority in the State

 

Government has not approved the welfare schemes or the welfare

 

fund has not been constituted. Another reason for such non-

 

disbursal of cess amount is that no applicants have approached the

 

Welfare Board/notified authority, for payment under the provisions

 

of the Act and the Cess Act.

 

The States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa,

 

Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Mizoram,

 

Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu and Union Territories of

 

Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu

 

and Lakshadweep fall under this category.

 

 

[5]
Having perused the affidavits of these states/union territories

 

and the records before us, we issue the following directions:-

 

a) The governments of the above-referred states/union

 

territories are hereby directed to ensure that the welfare

 

fund is created and welfare schemes are formulated and

 

notified in accordance with the provisions of the Act and

 

the Cess Act within four weeks from today.

 

b) The welfare schemes framed by the respective

 

states/union territories shall be given due publicity and

 

be brought to the notice of the concerned workmen and

 

eligible applicants by the District Authority/Sub-

 

Committee responsible. We may clarify that there are

 

certain schemes where the workmen are entitled to

 

disbursement of the amounts across-the-board, like

 

education schemes, etc. Every effort should be made to

 

implement these schemes without any further delay.

 

c) Affidavit shall be filed by the Secretary (Labour) of the

 

respective states/union territories within six weeks from

 

today reporting to this Court the complete compliance

 

 

[6]
with these directions. The affidavit shall also give the

 

up-to-date status –

 

d) of collection of cess, disbursement of amounts and

 

implementation of schemes.
Category-III

 

The States of Kerala, Punjab, Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh

 

and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep are the states/union

 

territory which have not given any details of the schemes framed,

 

reasons for its non-implementation and consequent non-

 

disbursement of the cess amounts. It is a statutory obligation

 

upon these states/union territory and the authorities in-charge of

 

the concerned departments that they ensure implementation of the

 

schemes and disbursement of the cess amounts. Let now the

 

schemes be publicized and cess amounts be disbursed to the

 

eligible applicants in accordance with the provisions of the Act and

 

the Cess Act within a period of six weeks from today and affidavit of

 

compliance of the Secretary (Labour) of the states/union territory

 

be filed within two weeks thereafter.

 

 

General Directions

 

[7]
It is clear from the affidavits filed on behalf of most of the

 

states and union territories that they are not holding meetings of

 

the Welfare Board as required, i.e., at least once in two months, to

 

discharge their statutory functions. Further, it is also apparent

 

that audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has not

 

been conducted of the funds placed at the disposal of the concerned

 

authority. We may also notice that large funds are lying with the

 

said Welfare Boards/authorities, but have not been disbursed. The

 

possibility of these amounts being diverted by the state authority

 

for other heads of expenditure in the respective states/union

 

territories cannot be ruled out.

 

Resultantly, while reiterating our earlier orders, we also issue

 

the following directions for their immediate compliance:

 

a) All the State Welfare Boards shall be subjected to audit

 

by the CAG within two months from today. All the States,

 

Union Territories and the State Boards to initiate the

 

process and ensure its completion under the provisions

 

of Section 27 of the Act.

 

 

[8]
b) Every Welfare Board shall, without fail, hold its meetings

 

at least once in two months and submit its Minutes, as

 

well as the action taken and progress reports in regard to

 

the framing and implementation of the schemes and

 

disbursement of funds to the eligible applicants, to the

 

Secretary (Labour) of that Government quarterly.

 

 

c) The funds available with the Welfare Boards which have

 

not been disbursed or are not likely to be disbursed

 

within a short period should be properly invested with

 

the nationalized banks only. Funds available with the

 

Welfare Boards shall not be utilized by the State for any

 

other head of expenditure of the State Government, etc.

 

 

d) Union of India has filed an affidavit. It is stated in the

 

affidavit that they have taken various steps, including

 

steps for amendment of the Act and the Rules framed

 

thereunder. Union of India is directed to expedite this

 

process. We also direct the Union of India to discharge

 

its various statutory functions under the Act with

 

 

[9]
particular reference to Sections 24 to 27. It shall also

 

issue appropriate directions under Section 60 of the Act

 

to all the State Governments to fully implement the

 

provisions of the Act as well as the Cess Act.

 

The above directions should be complied with by all concerned

 

without fail and within the time afore-stipulated. We make it clear

 

that in the event of any default committed by any

 

officer/official/authority, we will be compelled to take action against

 

the officer/official/authority concerned under the provisions of the

 

Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 without any further notice.

 

With these directions, we dispose of these four contempt

 

petitions & I.A.6, but make it clear that in the event of default, the

 

petitioner would be at liberty to file fresh contempt petitions before

 

this Court, in view of the above order.

 

Let a copy of this order be sent to each Chief Secretary and

 

Secretary (Labour) of the respective states or union territories.

 

 

……………………………CJI.

(S.H. Kapadia)

 

 

[10]
……………………………..J.

(A.K. Patnaik)

 

 

……………………………..J.

(Swatanter Kumar)

New Delhi;

February 7, 2012

 

 

[11]

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