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New Delhi: A bill seeking to raise the cap on disputed amount of compensation for appeal in high courts was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya introduced the Employees’ Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in the lower house of Parliament.

Section 30 of the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923, provides for appeal in high courts whenever the disputed amount (of compensation) is more than 300. The bill seeks to raise this to 10,000, which may be further increased through a notification later.

The one of the main objectives of the bill is to reduce litigation. The bill also provides for increase in penalty for contravention of the act to 50,000 from the current 5,000, that may be later raised to 1 lakh.

The Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923, provides for payment of compensation to workmen and their dependants in the case of injury by industrial accidents, including certain occupational diseases arising out of and in the course of employment resulting in death or disablement.

The bill also proposes to impose penalty for failure to display provisions of the act. It provides for making it obligatory on the employer to inform the employee of his rights to compensation under the act, in writing as well as through electronic means.

The act provides under section 30A that the commissioner could exercise discretion to withhold payment of an employee whenever an appeal in a high court is filed. The legislation proposed to omit Sector 30A.

With this omission, the amount can be withheld only when there is a stay or order to that effect by the high court where the appeal is filed. The omission will provide relief to the employees as the amount can now be withheld only when there is a stay or order to that effect by the high court in cases where the appeal has been filed by the employer.

The Law Commission of India, in its reports in 1974 and 1989 related to the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923, (now known as Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923) recommended to review/amend/repeal various provisions of the act.

The proposed bill is based on the report of the Law Commission which intends to close more litigations at the level of commissioner for workmen’s compensation appointed by state governments for a particular area. The other objective of the bill is to put in more deterrence for better compliance.

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