: No discrimination to be mad while recruiting men and women workers - On and
from the commencement of this Act, no employer hall while making recruitment
for the same work or work of a similar nature, (or in any condition of service
subsequent to recruitment such as promotions, training or transfer), make any
discrimination against women except where the employment of women in such work
is prohibited or restricted by or under any law for the time being in force -
Provided that the provisions of this section shall not affect any priority or
reservation for Scheduled caste or Scheduled Tribes, ex-servicemen, retrenched
employees or any other class or category of persons in the matter of
recruitment to the posts in an establishment of employment.
: Power of appropriate Government to appoint authorities for hearing and
deciding claims and complaints - i) the appropriate Government may, by
notification, appoint such officers, not below the rank of a Labour Officer, as
it thinks fit to be the authorities for the purpose of hearing and deciding. a)
Complaints with regard to the contravention of any provision of this Act. b)
Claims arising out of non-payment of wages at equal rates to men and women or
work of a similar nature; and may , by the same or subsequent notification,
define the local limits within which each such authority shall exercise its
jurisdiction. ii) Every complain or claim ref erred to in sub-section (1) shall
be made in such manner as may be prescribed. iii) If any question arises as to
whether two or more works are of the same nature or of a similar nature, it
shall be decided by the authority appointed under sub-section (1). iv) Where a
complain... v) Every authority appointed under sub-section (1) shall have all
the powers of a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of
1908), for the purpose of taking evidence and of enforcing the attendance of
witnesses and compelling the production of documents, and every such authority
shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of section 195 and
Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).
: Penalties (1) - If after the commencement of this Act, any employer, being
required by or under the Act so to do -a)...., b)...., c....., d)..he shall be
punishable (with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month
or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both). ii) ....,
: Act not to apply to certain special cases - Nothing in this Act shall apply -
a) to cases affecting the terms and conditions of a women's employment in
complying with the requirements of any law giving special treatment to women,
or b) to nay special treatment accorded to women in connection with - i) the
birth or expected birth of a child , or ii) the terms and conditions relating
to retirement, marriage or death or to any provision made in connection with
the retirement, marriage or death.
Suggested Amendments by NCW
Section 5: For the words, 'except where the employment of women in such work is
prohibited or restricted by or under any law for the time being in force'
following words will be substituted - 'except where the employment of women in
such work is likely to physically or psychologically affect her'.
This section will read as - 'On and from the commencement of this Act, no
employer shall while making recruitment for the same work or work of a similar
nature, (or in any condition of service subsequent to recruitment such as
promotions, training or transfer), take any discrimination against women
'except where the employment of women in such work is likely to physically or
psychologically affect her'.
Sub - section (1): For the words - 'the appropriate Government may by
notification, such officers, not below the rank of a Labour Officer' - the
following words shall be substituted 'The appropriate Government may, by
notification, appoint women officers having experience of not less than 5 years
in Labour Practice.'
This section will read as - (1) 'The appropriate Government may, by
notification, appoint women officers having experience of not less than 5 years
in Labour Practice' as it thinks fit to be the authorities for the purpose of
having and deciding -..., ..... For sub-section (2) following will be
substituted - 'The complain or claim referred to in sub-section (1) can be
taken cognizance either suo -moto by the officers appointed under Section 7(1)
or at the instance of voluntary agencies or person aggrieved in such manner as
may be prescribed'. Note: Though, the adjudicatory authority has been provided
power under Section 7(5) of the Civil Court for the purpose of taking evidence
and enforcing attendance of witness and compelling the production of documents.
But he adjudicatory authority has not been provided any power to enforce its
order under the Act. For any adjudicatory authority to b effective, it has to
be provided sufficient teeth. It is necessary for proper and effective
functioning of the adjudicatory authority that it is provided power of
enforcement of its order and in case of failure by the employer, then it should
have power to impose penalty.
: After sub-section (3) a mew sib-section (4) shall be added - 'where an
employer or a person against whom a complaint is made falls or omits to comply
with any order made by the office under Section 7(1), such employer or person
shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than
one month but which may extend to one year, or with fine which shall not be
less than Rs.10,000/- but which may extend to Rs.20,000/- or with both.
Provided that the officer it satisfied that the circumstances of any case so
require, impose a sentence of imprisonment or fine, or both, for a term lesser
then the minimum term and the amount lesser then the minimum amount, specified
in this sub-section' for reason to be record in writing.
: After Section 15, the following explanation will be added - 'Explanation' the
special treatment given either under this Act, or any other Act for the time
being in force will not be detrimental to the interest of the woman. Special
treatment clause should ensure that any act or omission of this Act shall not
be detrimental to the interest of the woman.
: Under Section 5 women are prohibited or restricted by law to take up certain
employment or to take up the employment during particular hours of the day. It
is high time that the list of the category of the work, wherein women are
prohibited or restricted by law from taking the work is pruned down, unless the
same is hazardous and threatens the life and limp of the women. Today, the
women are giving effective competition to men in different sphere of activity
and has proven themselves. It the restrictions are not removed or significantly
curtailed, then they are likely to be challenged on the ground of
discrimination and violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
: Section 7 relates to the officer manning the adjudicatory body. It is the
first pint of contact for the aggrieved party. The Act provides for a Labour
Officer to hear the complaint relating to contravention of any provisions of
the Act of non-payment of equal wages. Since the complaints primarily emanates
from Women section of the employees it is of utmost important that the
adjudicatory authority should provide assurance and should inspire confidence
of aggrieved party. For this reason, the Labour Officer who has been empowered
under this Section should be a women with background of Labour practices.
The power of filing complaint should not be confined only to the aggrieved
party. It has to be broad based on any information relating to contravention of
the Act must be entertained. For this reason, two changes are necessary under
Section 7. Firstly, if any person including voluntary organisation reports of
any contravention of provisions of the Act, the same should be treated as a
complain and the adjudicatory authority should dispose of the same as per law.
Secondly, if the Labour Officer or whosoever, is the adjudicatory authority get
some information or knowledge about any practice by the employer which is in
contravention of the Act, then it should have power of registration of
complaint upon its own knowledge and information. These amendments are also
necessary as the employees are likely to be reluctant to lodge any complain
against their present employer, least they face the wrath of employer.
: Providing a penal clause against the person who does not comply with the
order made by the officer under Section 7 (1).
: Section 15 deals with special benefits given to the women. It is necessary
that the explanation be incorporated in the Section, wherein it should be
provided that the special treatment should never be detrimental to the interest
of the women.