1. Short title and commencement
(1) These rules may be called the West Bengal Workmen’s House-Rent Allowance Rules, 1975.
(2) They shall come into force on and from the first day of October, 1975.
(1) In these rules, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,—
(a) “Act” means the West Bengal Workmen’s House-rent allowance Act, 1974 (West Bengal Act 56 of 1974);
(b) “Appellate Authority” means the State Government or such other authority as may be appointed by the State Government in this behalf under sub-section (4) of Section 5;
(c) “Form” means form appended to these rules:
(d) “Inspector” means any person appointed as Inspector under sub-section (1) of Section 7; and
(e) “Section” means a Section of the Act.
(2) All words and expressions used in these rules, unless otherwise defined, shall have the same meaning as assigned to them in the Act.
3. Manner and time of payment of house-rent allowance
The house-rent allowance payable to a workman under Section 4 for any month shall be paid within ten days of the month next following.
4. Maintenance of register of house-rent allowance
Every employer shall maintain a register of house-rent allowance in Form A:
Provided that it will be sufficient compliance with the provision of this rule if the employer maintains record of payment of house-rent allowance in any other register relating to payment of wages which he is required to maintain under any other law for the time being in force and the fact of maintenance of such register is intimated to the Controlling Authority concerned.
5. Application for recovery of House-rent Allowance
(1) The application under sub-section (1) of Section 5 for recovery of unpaid house-rent allowance shall be in Form B and each workman shall submit a separate application :
Provided that where a large number of workmen are involved a single application may be made by a person authorised by different workmen or their legal representatives.
(2) The application in Form B shall be served on the Controlling Authority concerned in triplicate either by personal service with receipt therefore or by registered post with acknowledgement due.
6. Procedure for dealing with applications for recovery of House-rent Allowance
(1) On receipt of an application under Rule 5 the Controlling Authority shall by issuing a notice in Form C. call upon the applicant as well as the employer concerned to appear before him on a date specified in the notice, not being less than 14 days after the date of service of the notice. either personally or through his authorised representative together with all relevant document and witnesses, if any :
Provided that the date fixed for hearing may be extended by the Controlling Authority either suomotu or on application by either of the parties.
(2) Any person desiring to act on behalf of an employer or a workman, his authorised representative or legal representative, as the case may be. shall present to the Controlling Authority a letter of authority from the employer or the person concerned, as the case may be. on whose behalf he seeks to act. together with a written statement explaining his interest in the matter and praying for permission so to act and the Controlling Authority, shall record thereon an order either according his approval or specifying, in the case of refusal to grant the permission prayed for. the reasons for the refusal.
(3) After completion of hearing on the date fixed under sub-rule (1) or after such further evidence, examination of documents or witnesses and hearing, as may be deemed necessary, the Controlling Authority shall record his finding as to whether any amount is payable to the applicant under the Act and a copy of the finding shall be given to each of the parties.
(4) If the employer concerned fails to appear on the specified date of hearing without sufficient ground, the Controlling Authority may proceed to hear the application ex-parte and if the applicant fails to appear on the specified date of hearing without sufficient ground, the Controlling Authority may dismiss the application :
Provided that an order under this sub-rule may, on good cause being shown within thirty days of the said order be reviewed and the application reheard after giving 14 days’ notice to the opposite party of the date fixed for rehearing of the application.
7. Direction for payment or house-rent allowance
If a finding is recorded under sub-rule (3) of Rule 6 that the applicant is entitled to payment of house-rent allowance under the Act, the Controlling Authority shall issue a notice to the employer concerned in Form D specifying the amount payable and directing payment thereof to the applicant under intimation to the Controlling Authority within thirty days from the date of receipt of the notice and a copy of the notice shall be endorsed to the applicant employee, his authorised person or his legal representative, as the case may be.
8. Appeal from the orders of Controlling Authority
(1) The appeal under sub-section (4) of Section 5 shall be in the form of a memorandum setting forth concisely the facts of the case, grounds of objection to the order or direction against which the appeal is preferred and the relief sought for, and every such memorandum of appeal shall the accompanied by a certified copy of the Controlling Authority’s order or direction, which is the subject mutter of the appeal.
(2) A copy of the memorandum of appeal under sub-rule (1) shall be served by the appellant on all the opposite panics including the Controlling Authority, either by personal service after obtaining receipt or by registered post with acknowledgement due.
(3) Within fourteen days of the receipt of a copy of the memorandum of appeal—
(a) the Controlling Authority shall forward all the records of the case against which the appeal has been preferred, to the appellate authority; and
(b) the opposite party shall submit his written statement containing comments on each paragraph of the memorandum of appeal and additional pleas, if any, to the appellate authority and the opposite party shall serve a copy of his written statement on the appellant either by personal service after obtaining receipt or by registered post with acknowledgement due.
(4) The appellate authority shall record its decision after giving the parties to the appeal a reasonable opportunity of being heard and shall forward a copy of the decision to the parties concerned and the Controlling Authority and die records of the Controlling Authority received under sub rule (3) shall be returned to him by the appellate authority while forwarding a copy of the decision to him under this rule :
Provided that if the appeal is disposed of ex-part or struck out or dismissed for default, the Appellate Authority can. within 30 days from the date of the order, restore it to file if sufficient cause be shown for non-appearance on the date of the hearing of the appeal of the respondent or of the appellant, as the case may be.
(5) On receipt of the decision of the appellate authority, the Controlling Authority shall, if required under that decision, modify his direction under Rule 7 and issue a notice in Form E specifying the modified amount payable and directing payment thereof to the applicant, under intimation to the Controlling Authority within fifteen days of receipt of the notice by the employer and a copy of the notice shall be endorsed to the applicant workman, his authorised person or legal representative, as the case may be, and to the appellate authority.
9. Maintenance of records of cases by the Controlling Authority
(1) The Controlling Authority shall record the particulars of each case in Form F and at the time of passing order shall sign and date the particulars so recorded.
(2) The Controlling Authority shall, while passing orders in each case, also record the substance of the evidence adduced in the case as an appendix to the order.
(3) Any record, other than a record of any order or direction which is required by these rules to be signed by the Controlling Authority, may be signed on his behalf and under his direction by any subordinate officer appointed in writing for this purpose by the Controlling Authority.
10. Copies of decision, records and documents
(1) Any workman or employer or a representative of the workman or a employer shall be entitled to inspect any application, document or record filed with the Controlling Authority in relation to a case on payment of the requisite fees specified in the Schedule appended to these rules.
(2) An application for copy under sub-rule (1) shall be in Form G and shall be presented in person to the Controlling Authority or shall be sent to him by registered post and shall the accompanied with a fee of seventy-five paise, which shall be paid in court-fee stamp affixed to the application.
(3) All copies shall be prepared on folios, and if it be not possible at once to inform the applicant what court-fee stamp and folios will be required in respect of the copies applied for. the requisite information shall be communicated to the applicant as soon as may be possible thereafter, but not later than seven days from the date on which the application is received by noting on the counterfoil portion of the application.
(4) In the case of certified copies, the court-fee chargeable under the West Bengal Court-fees Act, 1970 (West Bengal Act X of 1970), shall be levied affixing the necessary stamp to the first folio of the copy.
(5) On receipt of the information referred to in sub-rule (3), the applicant shall present the requisite folios and court-fee stamps to the controlling authority along with the counterfoil of his original application, on which the receipt of the court-fee stamps and folios filed shall be acknowledged, and the date on which the copy will be ready for deli very noted and the counterfoil shall then be returned to the applicant.
(6) If the requisite folios and court-fee stamps are not filed within seven days from the date on which the information referred to in sub-rule (3) is communicated to the applicant, the application shall be liable to be struck off and an application so struck off shall not be revived, hut in such case, a fresh application may be made.
(7) Urgent copies shall ordinarily be ready on the day following the date of payment of the urgent fees specified in this behalf in the Schedule and compliance with other requisites.
11. Register or application for copies
Application for copies shall be numbered consecutively and entered in a register maintained for the purpose in Form H.
12. Register of Court-fees
(1) A Court-fee Register shall be maintained in Form I by the Controlling Authority.
(2) Court-fee stamps shall be cancelled by punching in the manner laid down in sub-section (2) of Section 44 of the West Bengal court-fees Act, 1970 (West Bengal Act X of 1970).
13. Register of Workmen
Every employer shall maintain a Register of Workmen in Form J showing therein the names of all his workmen and the days of the month on which such workmen were in service or for which such workmen earned wages:
Provided that it will be sufficient compliance with the provision of this rule if the information under this rule is maintained in any other register that the employer is required to maintain under any other law for the lime being in force and the fact of maintenance of such register is intimated to the Controlling Authority.
14. Duties of Inspectors
(1) Tile duties of an Inspector appointed under Section 7 shall be generally to make such inspection as may appear to him to be necessary for satisfying himself that the provisions of the Act and these rules and of any orders issued by the Government under the Act arc duly observed within the local area for which he is appointed, and it shall also thee the duty of an Inspector to satisfy himself that—
(i) the registers required to be maintained under the Act or these rules are properly maintained; and
(ii) the provisions of the Act and these rules regarding payment of house-rent allowance are duly observed.
(2) For the purpose of making such inspection, the Inspector may interrogate such persons as he may deem necessary, at any premises in place where, he has reason to believe, there is an industry:
Provided that no such person shall be required under this rule to answer any question the answer to which might tend to incriminate him.
(3) An Inspector shall inspect every industry within the local area for which he is appointed at least once in every three months.
15. Submission of diary by Inspector
Every Inspector shall keep a file of the records of his inspections and maintain a diary in Form K and shall submit a copy thereof to the Controlling Authority of his area by the fifteenth day of the month following the month to which the diary relates.
16. Visit Book
(1) Every employer shall maintain a Visit Book in which an Inspector visiting the industry may record his remarks regarding any defect that may come to light at the time of his visit regarding any documents required to be maintained or produced under the provisions of the Act or these rules, and if the Inspector has no remarks to pass be will simply sign the Visit Book giving the date and time of his visit.
(2) The Visit Book shall be a bound book the pages of which shall be consecutively numbered:
Provided that no separate Visit Book shall be necessary in the case of an employer who is required to maintain a Visit Book under the provisions of the West Bengal Shops and Establishments Rules, 1964.