NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court directed the AAP government’s Building and Other Construction Workers We l fare (BOCWW) Board to carry out verification of labourers, for registration or its renewal, via video calls and to seek their physical presence only where that is not possible.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar said that this will ensure that workers who migrated to their villages are not denied the ex-gratia, offered by the Delhi government, due to lack of physical verification. It will reduce their exposure to the pandemic and the recording of the video call can be preserved for future reference, the bench said.
The bench said its direction has to be complied with and if the board was unhappy with that it can go in appeal to the SC. The court asked the board to ensure adequate publicity of the location of its registration camps as a lot of workers had not appeared at these camps for registration. It directed the Board to publish locations of camps in the vernacular newspapers in the national capital and to ensure sufficient advance notice is given to a worker being called for verification at the camps.
The directions came while hearing a PIL by social activist Sunil Kumar Aledia seeking registration of all construction workers under the BOCWW Act so that they can get the benefit of relief package/ ex-gratia of Rs 5,000 per month being provided to each labourer during the lockdown.
Aledia, in his plea, contended that only a small section out of the over 10 lakh workers in the city are registered under the laws regulating their welfare and service conditions and thus, a huge chunk of the labourers are not getting benefits actually meant for them.
The court also directed the government to ensure that work with regard to issuance of fresh mobile numbers, user ids and passwords is not impeded in any manner due to the SDM office being burdened by COVID duties.
Lakhs missing out on benefits
The petitioner, contended that despite collection of over Rs 2,000 crore under the BOCWW Act in the names of lakhs of workers, only around 37,127 labourers registered are getting benefited