The Supreme Court has said that accounts of all state welfare boards set up for collecting cess and disbursal of funds under schemes meant for construction workers would be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
“All the state welfare boards shall be subjected to audit by the CAG within two months from today,” said the apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar Tuesday.
The order said that all states, union territories and state boards will initiate the audit process and ensure its completion under the provisions of Section 27 of the Building and Other Construction Worker (Regulations of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, and the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996.
“We also direct the union of India to discharge its various statutory functions…and issue directions to all the state governments to fully implement the provisions,” the order said.
The apex court direction to the government came while taking note of its affidavit stating that it had taken various steps for workers’ welfare.
“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 the government, quarterly,” the court said.
“Funds available with the boards which have not been disbursed or are not likely to be disbursed within a short period should be properly invested with nationalised banks only. Funds available with the welfare boards shall not be utilised by the state for any other head of expenditure,” the court said.
While disposing of the four contempt petitions that were filed by NGO National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour, the court said that in the event of default, the petitioner would be at liberty to file fresh contempt petitions.
The contempt petitions were filed by the NGO for the non-compliance of the apex court’s earlier directions.