Delhi HC lays down timelines for disbursal of pension, ex-gratia to construction workers

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday laid down the timelines for the construction workers’ board to pay pension and ex-gratia relief to labourers registered with it and whose claims are pending.

Justice Prathiba M Singh said that in cases where deficiencies in the claim applications have been pointed out to the workers, once a response is received rectifying the deficiency, then the Board should process the claim within three months of getting the reply.

In those cases where the claims were under process, the same be cleared within two months, the court said.

With regard to fresh claims made by 453 more workers, that was brought to the attention of the court, Justice Singh directed the Board to examine and process the applications within three months and where the workers are liable to receive the monetary benefit, the same shall be disbursed expeditiously within a further period of one month.

The court said that if any deficiencies are found in the fresh 453 applications, then the same be communicated to the workers concerned and on receiving their responses, the claims will be processed within two months from then.

The directions were passed while hearing several pleas on behalf of construction workers seeking pension amounts provided to them under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare (BOCWW) Act and the ex-gratia relief of Rs 5,000 announced by the Delhi government for workers registered with the Board during the pandemic.

On another plea claiming non-receipt of the ex-gratia by around 1,993 workers despite being registered with the Board, the court called for a status report regarding the same before the next date of hearing in August.

The court observed that the number of workers registered with the Board “was very very low compared to the actual number of workers out there” and said that where registrations have been renewed the ex-gratia relief amount be released within 30 days.

In another plea, a concern was raised that the grievance redressal mechanism set up by the Board was not efficient as the officials deployed to address the grievances of the workers were not acclimatised with the provisions of the Act.

On this, the court said, “It is expected that the Respondent (Board) will take the necessary steps to make the mechanism as robust as they can so that grievances of the workers can be addressed in a timely manner.”

The court also said that claims for ex-gratia relief announced for 2021 can be raised before the Board which shall process the same in accordance with the timelines it normally follows in such matters.

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