Section 12

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Abuse of vulnerability Coercive, unfair or deceptive recruitment Debt bondage Employment contracts Wage manipulation, non-payment or withholding of wages

Section 12 sets out the duties of contractors, namely:

  • providing details of employment to the authorities in the State from which an inter-State migrant workman is recruited, and in the State in which such workman is employed, within fifteen days from the date of recruitment;
  • issuing a pass-book to every inter-State migrant worker employed, with the worker´s photograph and indicating in Hindi and English, and where the language of the worker is not Hindi or English, also in the language of the worker (i) the name and place of the establishment where the workman is employed; (ii) the period of employment; (iii) the proposed rates and modes of payment of wages; (iv) the displacement allowance payable; (v) the return fare payable upon the expiry of the period of his employment; and (vi) deductions made; and
  • sending a return statement to the authorities regarding inter-state migrant workers who cease to be employed, which shall include a declaration that all the wages and other dues payable to the worker and the fare for the return journey back to his State have been paid.

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Section 12. Duties of contractors.

(1) It shall be the duty of every contractor,

(a) to furnish such particulars and in such form as may be prescribed, to the specified authority in State from which an inter-State migrant workman is recruited and in the State in which such workman is employed, within fifteen days from the date of recruitment, or, as the case may be, the date of employment, and where any change occurs in any of the particulars so furnished, such change shall be notified to the specified authorities of both the State.

(b) to issue to every inter-State migrant workman, a pass –book affixed with a passport size photograph of the workman and indicating in Hindi and English languages, and where the language of the workman is not Hindi or English, also in the language of the workman, (i) the name and place of the establishment wherein the workman is employed; (ii) the period of employment; (iii) the proposed rates and modes of payment of wages; (iv) the displacement allowance payable; (v) the return fare payable to the workman on the expiry of the period of his employment and in such contingencies as may be prescribed and in such other contingencies as may be specified in the contract of employment; (vi) deductions made; and (vii) such other particulars as may be prescribed;

(c) to furnish in respect of every inter-State migrant workman who ceases to be employed, a return in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed, to the specified authority in the State from which he is recruited and in the State in which he is employed, which shall include a declaration that all the wages and other dues payable to the workman and the fare for the return journey back to his State have been paid.

(2) The contractor shall maintain the pass-book referred to in sub-section (1) up-do-date and cause it to be retained with the inter-State migrant workman concerned. Explanation. — For the purposes of this section and Sec. 16 “specified authority” means such authority as may be specified by the appropriate Government in this behalf.”

Law / India / Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979

The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 was introduced to regulate the employment of inter-state migrant workers, and matters connected to such employment. The Act was introduced in response to the system of employment of inter-state migrant labour in certain states, used by contractors or agents (also referred to as Sardars or Khatadars) back in the 1970s, which led to the exploitation of migrant labourers.

The introduction to the Act explains the exploitative practices this legislation is intended to addres:

“At the time of recruitment Sardars or Khatadars promise that wages calculated in piece-rate basis would be settled every month but usually this promise is never kept (sic). Once the worker comes under the clutches of the contractor, he takes him to a far-off place on payment of railway fare only. No working hours are fixed for these workers and they have to work on all the days in a week under extremely bad working conditions. The provisions of the various labour laws are not being observed in their case and they are subjected to various malpractices.”