New Delhi: The Centre today came in for
sharp criticism from the Supreme Court for its failure to
implement the decade-old laws meant for social security of
the building and construction workers.
The apex court was anguished that the Centre, which was
authorised under the law to issue directions to state
governments for the setting up of welfare boards, did not
exercise its power, which created a roadblock for disbursal of
the cess collected for the benefits of workers.
The court was hearing a PIL filed in 2006 alleging
non-implementation of the Building and other Construction
Workers (Regulations of Employment and Condition of Service)
Act, 1996, and the Building and other Construction Workers
Welfare Cess Act, 1996.
It expressed displeasure that despite its January 18,
2010, order, the Centre did not swing into action to ask the
state governments to constitute welfare boards under the
Construction Act, as a result of which the money collected
under the Cess Act could not be passed to the boards.
"Even the preliminary step has not been taken under the
Act. We also do not know why the Centre has not taken a step
under section 60 of the Act (Building and other Construction
"We, accordingly direct the Centre to call for necessary
information from states and union territories and issue
appropriate orders for the setting up of the welfare boards in
terms of the order of January 18, 2010," a Bench comprising
Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and
Swatanter Kumar said.
The Bench said the entire exercise has to be completed
within two months and the Centre will have to furnish the
status report in this regard.
The court said it was "unfortunate" that though the
Centre was given power under the law to issue directions to
the state governments and an order was passed by its Bench,
the constitution of the welfare boards have not been taken