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Responsibility of principal employer in case of service contract

(Querist) 09 August 2011 This query is : Resolved 
Dear collegues: Please clarify the following issue.

I have requested the Principal Employer to provide me a copy of register of wages or muster roll cum wage register of a Contractor duly endorsed by the representative of Principal Employer as per Rule 73 of Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) 1970.

Both CPIO and First Appellate Authority replied "that it is a work contract where payment is based on work done. Hence, the wage details if any, are available only with Contractor".

I feel that whatever the contract, the Principal Employer has to ensure the labour rules implementation and hence certainly has the accessibility of the records. Pl. clarify.
Raj Kumar Makkad (Expert) 09 August 2011
No. Rules have now been changed and Principal employer is not duty bound to access the labour record of contractor or seek implementation of labour laws on his part.
K.S.Srinivas (Expert) 09 August 2011
There is no obligation on the part of the principal employer. In respect of maintenance of wage register or muster roll, the obligation is with the contractor.
Guest (Expert) 10 August 2011
Dear Sambasiva,

First of all, any Principal Employer is not responsible to call on behalf of you and provide any record of a private person, like contractor.

Secondly, you may perhaps be aware of the fact that most of the contractors keep their records up to date in accordance with the provision of the contract and labour laws, may that be a fake record. It is a known fact that most of the contractors pay less to the workment but take signature on acquittance of payment of full wages and show due offs also. But, unless there is a complaint from any labour to the contrary, I wonder, how you would like to suggest or hold responsible the Principal Employer to ensure implementation of the labour rules?

However, if you have some solid proof about violation of labour laws, better approach the concerned Labour Officer of the concerned Government, who has the power not only to inspect the records, but also to investigate complaints against the contractor band penalise him.
sambasivakamasani (Querist) 11 August 2011
Thanq. for kind response. Labour Contract (R&A) 1970 says as follows.
72. The principal employer shall ensure the presence of his authorized representative at the place and time of disbursement of wages by the contractor to workmen and it shall be the duty of the contractor to ensure the disbursement of wages in the presence of such authorized representative

73. The authorized representative of the principal employer shall record under his signature a certificate at the end of the entries in the Register of Wages or the Register of Wages-cum-Muster Roll, as the case may be, in the following form:

“Certified that the amount shown in column No…. has been paid to the workman concerned in my presence on…….at……”
Principal Employer is overseeing the wage payments and hence has the accessibility on demand. Pl. comment.
Guest (Expert) 11 August 2011
Dear Sambasiva,

You are right, the provisions of course do exist there, but unless the principal employer actually deputes his representative and the representative is also honest or some unofficial independent observer is there, the connivance between the contractor and official, and fabrication of documents cannot be overruled. I can say with certainty that in most cases you won't find any representative of the principal employer at the time of payment for overseeing payment and certification. On your own secret investigation you can also find the labourers having been paid lesser than the amount shown in their payment vouchers even after certification is made by the representative.

In fact, the employment seeking poor labourers don't open their mouth for the fear of losing their job.

Due to all these reasons my opinion is that any of the record maintained by the contractor won't help you even if you are able to get the same through RTI. All your efforts can go waste. So, better try some effectve measure to ontain fool proof information.
sambasivakamasani (Querist) 12 August 2011
Dhingraji you are cent percent right. As suggested, I will try my best to see the cheers of the labour. Thank you.

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