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THE BUILDING AND OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORKERS’ WELFARE CESS ACT, 1996

THE BUILDING AND OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORKERS’ WELFARE CESS ACT,
1996

No.28 OF 1996

[19th August, 1996]

An
act to provide for the levy and collection of a cess on the cost of
construction incurred by employers with a view to augmenting the resources of
the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Boards constituted under
the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and
Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.

Comment:
The aim of this Act is to provide for the levy and collection of a cess on the
cost of construction incurred by employers with a view to augmenting the
resources of the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Boards
constituted under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of
Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.

BE
it enacted by Parliament in the Forty-seventh year of the Republic of India
as follows:—

1.Short title, extent and commencement.- (1) This Act may be called the Building
and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996.

(2)
It extends to the whole of India.

(3)
It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 3rd day of November, 1995.

2.Definitions.- In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—-

(a)
“Board” means a Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare
Board constituted by a State Government under sub-section (1) of section 18 of
the Building the Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and
Conditions of Service) Act, 1996;

(b)
“Fund” means the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare
Fund constituted by a Board;

(c)
“prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(d)
words and expressions used herein but not defined and defined in the Building
and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of
Service) Act, 1996 shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in
that Act.

3.Levy and collection of cess.- (1) There shall be levied and collected a cess for the
purposes of the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment
and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, at such rate not exceeding two per
cent.but not less than one per cent, of the cost of construction incurred by an
employer, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official
Gazette, from time to time specify.

(2)
The cess levied under sub-section (1) shall be collected from every employer in
such manner and at such time, including deduction at source in relation to a
building or other construction work of a Government or of a public sector
undertaking or advance collection through a local authority where an approval
of such building or other construction work by such local authority is
required, as may be prescribed.

(3)
The proceeds of the cess collected under sub-section (1) shall be paid by the
local authority or the State Government collecting the cess to the Board after
deducting the cost of collection of such cess not exceeding one per cent.of the
amount collected.

(4)
Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), the
cess leviable under this Act including payment of such cess in advance may,
subject to final assessment to be made, be collected at a uniform rate or rates
as may be prescribed on the basis of the quantum of the building or other
construction work involved.

4.Furnishing of returns.- (1) Every employer shall furnish such return to such officer
or authority, in such manner and at such time as may be prescribed

(2)
If any person carrying on the building or other construction work, liable to
pay the cess under section 3, fails to furnish any return under sub-section
(1), the officer or the authority shall give a notice requiring such person to
furnish such return before such date as may be specified in the notice.

5.Assessment of cess.- (1) The officer or authority to whom or to which the return has
been furnished under section 4 shall, after making or causing to be made such
inquiry as he or it thinks fit and after satisfying himself or itself that the
particulars stated in the return are correct, by order, assess the amount of
cess payable by the employer.

(2)
If the return has not been furnished to the officer or authority under
sub-section (2) of section 4, he or it shall, after making or causing to be
made such inquiry as he or it thinks fit, by order, assess the amount of cess
payable by the employer.

(3)
An order of assessment made under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall
specify the date within which the cess shall be paid by the employer.

6.Power to exempt.- Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the Central
Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, exempt any employer or
class of employers in a State from the payment of cess payable under this Act
where such cess is already levied and payable under any corresponding law in
force in that State.

7.Power of entry.- Any officer or authority of the State Government specially
empowered in this behalf by that Government may—-

(a)
with such assistance, if any, as he or it may think fit, enter at any
reasonable time any place where be or it considers it necessary to enter for
carrying out the purposes of this Act including verification of the correctness
of any particulars furnished by any employer under section 4;

(b)
do within such place anything necessary for the proper discharge of his or its
duties under this Act; and

(c)
exercise such other powers as may be prescribed.

8.Interest
payable on delay in payment of cess.-

If any employer fails to pay any amount of cess payable under section 3 within
the time specified in the order of assessment, such employer shall be liable to
pay interest on the amount to be paid at the rate of two per cent.for every
month or part of a month comprised in the period from the date on which such
payment is due till such amount is actually paid.

9.Penalty for
non-payment of cess within the specified time.-
If any amount of cess payable
by any employer under section 3 is not paid within the date specified in the
order of assessment made under section 5, it shall be deemed to be in arrears
and the authority prescribed in this behalf may, after making such inquiry as
it deems fit, impose on such employer a penalty not exceeding the amount of
cess;

Provided that,
before imposing any such penalty, such employee shall be given a reasonable
opportunity of being heard and if after such hearing the said authority is
satisfied that the default was for any good and sufficient reason, no penalty
shall be imposed under this section.

10.Recovery of
amount due under the Act.-
Any
amount due under this Act (including any interest or penalty) from an employer
may be recovered in the same manner as an arrear of and revenue.

11.Appeals.- (1) Any employer aggrieved by an order of
assessment made under section 5 or by an order imposing penalty made under
section 9 may, within such time as may be prescribed, appeal to such appellate
authority in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed.

(2) Every appeal
preferred under sub-section (1) shall be accompanied by such fees as may be
prescribed.

(3) After the
receipt of any appeal under sub-section (1), the appellate authority shall,
after giving the appellant an opportunity of being heard in the matter, dispose
of the appeal as expeditiously as possible.

(4) Every order
passed in appeal under this section shall be final and shall not be called in
question in any court of law.

12.Penalty.- (1) Whoever, being under an obligation to furnish a
return under this Act, furnishes any return knowing, or having reason to
believe, the same to be false shall be punishable with imprisonment which may
extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or
with both.

(2) Whoever,
being liable to pay cess under this Act, wilfully or intentionally evades or
attempts to evade the payment of such cess shall be punishable with imprisonment
which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

(3) No court
shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under this section save on a
complaint made by or under the authority of the Central Government.

13.Offences by
companies.-
(1) Where an offence
under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who, at the time
the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the
company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company,
shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded
against and punished accordingly:

Provided that
nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to
any punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his
knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission
of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1),
where an offence under this Act has been committed with the consent or
connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director,
manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager,
secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence
and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Explanation.For
the purposes of this section,

(a)
“company” means any body corporate and includes a firm or other
association of individuals; and

(b)
“director” in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

14.Power to
make rules.-
(1) The Central
Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for
carrying out the provisions of this Act.

(2) Without
prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for
all or any of the following matters, namely:

(a) the manner in
which and the time within which the cess shall be collected under sub-section
(2) of section 3;

(b) the rate or
rates of advance cess leviable under sub-section (4) of section 3;

(c) the
particulars of the returns to be furnished, the officer or authority to whom or
to which such returns shall be furnished and the manner and time of furnishing
such returns under sub-section (1) of section 4;

(d) the powers
which may be exercised by the officer or authority under section 7;

(e) the authority
which may impose penalty under section 9;

(f) the authority
to which an appeal may be filed under sub-section (1) of section 11 and the
time within which and the form and manner in which such appeal may be filed;

(g) the fees
which shall accompany an appeal under sub-section (2) of section 11; and

(h) any other
matter which has to be, or may be, prescribed.

(3) Every rule
made under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before
each House of Parliament, while it is in session for a total period of thirty
days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive
sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the
session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any
modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made,
the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no
effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or
annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously
done under that rule.

15.Repeal and
saving.
- (1) The Building and Other
Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Third Ordinance, 1996 (Ord.26 of 1996), is
hereby repealed.

(2)
Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken under the said
Ordinance shall be deemed to have been done or taken under or taken under the
corresponding provisions of this Act.

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