Beedi & Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966

Beedi & Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966

The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966 was enacted for the purpose of providing the interests and benefits of the employees in the beedi as well as cigar undertakings along with controlling the terms of employment. The provisions of the enactment shall not be applicable to the Jammu and Kashmir State. According to the provisions of the Act, the workers under the undertakings shall employ or permit the utilization in any location or properties like that of a commercial property without holding legal authorization given as per the provisions of the enactment and such property or location shall not be employed except as per the stipulations and terms of that certification. The person who aims to employ or permit the use of any location or property as commercial place shall prefer a request to the concerned official in the manner as well as on payment of laid down charges to get the authorization to use or give permission such property or commercial place. The request so given shall be added with the prescribed number of workers intended to be worked at any period in the locality or place and should be along with strategy of the location or the place that is organized in the specific manner.

The Act vests the power to settle whether to give license or not on a particular authority with respect to certain issues specified under the enactment. The matters relate to the appropriateness of the location or property that is intended to be employed for the production of beedi as well as cigar. The issues also relate with the prior knowledge of the person applying for license. The pecuniary steadiness of the person added with the monetary capacity to comply with the needs that arise due to the prevailing law that concern with the labour benefits is also a matter coming under this provision. It also consists of the good intention of the applicant as well as the welfare of the public at large. The license which is issued under the Act shall be legal only during that financial year unless renewed annually within the specified term. The persons who are not satisfied by the orders or decisions reached by the concerned authority in issuing of such license or any matters related with such license shall prefer an appeal to the authority specified by the State Government by publishing in the Gazette and such authority shall be competent to validate, alter or amend the license issued under the Act.

By virtue of the provisions of the Act, the Government of each State shall have power to appoint the officials coming under the local authorities who are qualified to be so appointed as the Inspector to perform the functions specified under the Act. Chief Inspectors shall also be employed by the State Governments to put into effect the functions of the Inspector. Such inspector shall be considered as the public servant coming under the purview of the Indian Penal Code. The Inspector shall be competent to scrutinize and conduct inquiry to determine whether the terms of the Act are observed effectively. He shall also order the production of documents or records that are connected with the creation of beedi or cigar. The Inspector shall also examine the places on just and fair reasons to confirm that the manufacture of the products is done in conformity with the provisions of the enactment. Moreover, the industrial undertakings shall be maintained dirt free and shall be kept away from the effluvia coming from consumes or other annoyance and shall comply with the norms of cleanliness. The Act also contains provision for overcapacity, first aid facilities and ventilation. It further forbids the service of children and regulates the working hours of women in the industrial areas. Special provision is also added for the inclusion of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

The State governments are sanctioned under the Act to make rules for the implementation of the Act effectively. The present Act was amended by enacting the Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Amendment Act, 1993.

The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Amendment Act, 1993 was enacted on May 22, 1993 for the purpose of amending and further adding provisions to the Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966. The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966 dealt with the working conditions of employees in the beedi and cigar establishments and the appointment of inspectors to perform some functions under the Act. It further consisted of facilities that are to be provided to workers and the proper maintenance of the factories. The 1993 was enacted to fill the vacuum in the parent Act.

According to the provisions of the Amendment Act, in the interpretation clause under Section 2(f) subsequent to the term establishment, the term godown shall be added. The Section 2(ii) shall stand amended and following Section 2(h), a new section 2(hh) shall be added that defines the term godown. In view of that, godown includes the storehouse or other areas employed as the luggage compartment of any object or material needed for the process of production. It shall also consist of beedi as well as cigar. The Section 2(c) (i) shall be added with the terms which add godowns that are attached. The Act placed in Section 7A that restricts the inspector from disclosing the details regarding a complaint. Accordingly, the inspector shall not reveal the details with respect to the complaints placed before him so far as that complaint contravenes the terms specified under the present enactment. In addition, the inspector when making an assessment shall not reveal to the related employer or any agent that such an assessment is conducted as a result of the complaint received from the worker. But if the person preferring the complaint gives permission to reveal the details of the complaint, details can be made public. Section 14 of the enactment was amended including the word thirty in the place of fifty.

The Act added explanation to Section 18 which states that if a worker was absent from his work in a week immediately before the week when the overtime duty was performed prior to the week where he actually conducted his part of work shall be included when computing the remuneration for such overtime. A proviso was embraced in Section 21 which states that the inspector shall be served with a duplicate of all the notices that holds the jurisdiction to supervise the activities of the industrial establishment. Such notice shall be served within the specified period starting from the date when the notice was displayed near the area of the industry. The Act amended Section 31 where it added Section 31 (2A) which provides that the appellate body shall be given with equal authority similar to that of a civil court as provided under the Civil Procedure Code. The power so given shall be exercised when dealing a suit with respect to the demanding of presence of a person and conducting examination. He shall also have power to force the production of records and important objects if any.

The amount provided under Section 32 was increased by adding six months along with Rs. 5000 in the place of three months and Rs. 500. The Act further altered Section 39(2) where it provided that the matters shall be passed on for decision within the reasonable period and by the official directed by the Government of a State by formulating rules in this behalf. The rules shall specifically state the mode through which the matter shall be decided. Under Section 44, the matters are to be settled within the period prescribed as aforesaid by the Revenue for deciding the disputes in the indicated mode according to the provisions of the enactment. Hence the Act added new provisions enabling the powers to be exercised by the Appellate authority and emphatically prescribed the mode for the settlement of disputes by such authority.