Delhi HC rules in favour of construction workers’ benefits, wants unpaid contributions adjusted

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has ruled that denial of benefits to construction workers by the Delhi Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board due to their failure to make a contribution for the renewal of registration, is incorrect.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora decreed that workers shall remain eligible for benefits under the Act for one year from the date they were required to make fresh contributions to renew the registration.

The court added that any unpaid contributions shall be offset against the benefits owed to the construction worker.

This ruling comes in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour, challenging the Board’s methodology for categorising workers’ registration status under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996.

The Bench said that the Act aims to safeguard the welfare of construction workers and ensure their safety, health, and overall well-being.

It reiterated that any interpretation leading to the denial of benefits contradicts the legislative intent and established legal principles.

While agreeing with the Board’s counsel regarding the requirement for a construction worker to be engaged in building and construction work for a minimum of 90 days per year to qualify for benefits, the court directed the Board to promptly reconsider all rejected or pending applications in line with the interpretation of Section 17 of the Act.

In conclusion, the court disposed of the writ petition, instructing the respondent-Board to re-examine all relevant applications both offline and online, adhering to the clarified interpretation of the Act.

A copy of the order was uploaded on the site of the High Court on Saturday.

IANS

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