1) Divergence of opinion prevails among various High Courts regarding the extended vicarious liability of the Principal Employers in respect of the statutory benefits of gratuity and bonus payable to the contract labor engaged by them. But, personally I would like to favor the liberal interpretation of sec.21 of the CLRA Act, 1970 so as to ensure the statutory benefits of gratuity and bonus to the less privileged contract labor as and when they become due.
2) Upward revision of any monetary benefit by operation of any law should go to the actual beneficiary like the contract labor. Since the retrospective operation of the amendment to the PB Act,1965 is sub judice , the PE can withhold such extra benefit till the disposal of the pending case on the disputed issue.
3) Yes. This is a dispute between employer and employer regarding the condition of service of bonus to their contract labor.
4) Yes.Since NPCIL is an authority under article 12 0f the Constitution, it is amenable to Writ Jurisdiction.
My submission is that even though the PE is prepared to pay the dues as per the contract as well as the amended provisions of the PB Act,1965, he has got the right to agitate against the retrospective effect of a monetary benefit as it would involve certain practical difficulties like locating the contractors as well as the contract labor engaged through them in the past apart from accounting difficulties. In case the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, strikes down the retrospective effect of the amendment, the recovery of the amount already paid would be impossible. Therefore, with holding of such extra amount payable by the NPICL as a PE till the disposal of the writ before the SC may be right.
14th July 2018 From India, Salem
Thank you for your valued input / opinion. There is a small confusion or I did not put it right then i.e.
The PE is not willing to pay the enhanced bonus asper Amended PB Act, while he had included pre-revised bonus amount in his tender estimate.
But he is enforcing to withhold the diff. of bonus amount bet. old & revised bonus amount FROM THE BILL PAYABLE TO CONTRACTOR on work done value. This is the core issue. He is not willing to pay the amended bonus, but forcing the contractor to pay the same.
This is applicable for FY 16-17 also because many of the contracts started in 2013 was running till beginning of 2017 on the tender estimation of pre-revised bonus amount only.
The matter is with Hon'ble Supreme Court for a ruling on application of "retrospective effect".
Kindly give your views on this.
23rd July 2018 From India, Bordi