The Centre on Friday 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 Public Interest Litigation (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 swung 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 Workers Act). 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 SH Kapadia and Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, said.