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The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948

The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 (Act no. 34 of 1948) dated 19th April, 1948 was enacted with the aim to provide for benefits to employees in case of their sickness, maternity and injuries caused due to employment. The Act extends to whole of Indian territories. The Act applies to all factories in the first instance including factories in public sector and this Act should be made applicable to other establishments, industries, etc. as appropriate Government decides.

The most important Chapter II under Section 3 of the Act provides for establishment of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation for administration of the Scheme of Employees’ State Insurance as per provisions of this Act. Further Section 4 of the Act provides constitution or compositions of such Corporation consisting of such persons provided under the list given whereunder. Section 5 provides for terms of office of members of such Corporation and Section 6 provides for eligibility for re-appointment or re-selection of such members to such Corporation.

Moreover, Section 8 of the Act provides for constitution of Standing Committee and it should consist of Chairman and members as per list provided under said section. Similar to above, the further Section 9 of the Act makes provisions as to terms of office of members of Standing Committee.

Similarly, Section 10 of the Act provides for constitution of Medical benefit council by Central Government consisting of such persons as Chairman, Co-Chairman, members, etc. as specified under the list of clauses of Section.

Further, Section 11 of the Act makes provisions for resignation of membership of such Corporation, Council or Committee. Whereas, Section 12 provides for cessation of membership and Section 13 provides for Disqualification of members. Subsequent Sections provides for filling of vacancies, fees and allowances, principal officers, staff, etc. of such Corporation, Committee and Council.

Section 18 of the Act explains powers of Standing Committee. Similarly, further sections provides for power of corporations as to promotion of health, etc. measures of insured persons, meetings of Corporation, Committee and Council and supersession thereof. Further, Act provides for duties of council and director general financial commissioner.

Section 25 of the Act makes provisions for appointment of Regional boards, local committees and Regional and local medical Councils and delegation of powers and functions to them by Corporation.

Chapter III of the Act relates to finance and audit, wherein Section 26 of the Act provides for fund called Employees’ State Insurance Fund held and administered by Corporation under the Act. Section 27 of the Act, which was providing for grant from the Central Government, was taken away by an amendment to the Act. Moreover, Section 28 of the Act provides for list of purposes for which such fund to be utilized. Also, Section 28-A of the Act makes provisions for administrative expenses which are to be taken out of such funds. Section 29 dealt with holding of property by Corporation and dealt with transactions relating to such property like sell, etc.. Further sections make provisions for budget estimates, accounts, audit, annual report, etc.

Chapter IV of the Act deals with Insurance and Contribution of Employer for insuring their Employees under Section 38 to 45 of the Act.

Chapter V of the Act provides under different clauses about benefits to insured employees, dependants. Moreover, Section 49 of the Act provides for Sickness benefit, Section 50 provides for Maternity Benefit and Section 51 for Disablement benefits to the insured employees. Section 56 of the Act makes provisions for Medical Benefits to insured employees and Section 58 provides for provision of medical treatment by Government. Section 59 of the Act is important so far as it relates to establishment of Hospitals, Dispensaries and other medical and surgical services by Corporation. Further, provisions relate to benefits, their transferability, etc.

Chapter V-A  provides for scheme for other beneficiaries to be laid down by Central Government. Such scheme should relate to medical facility. Section 73-D of the Act provides list of matters where such scheme for other beneficiaries applies.

Chapter VI of the Act deals with adjudication of disputes and claims for which Employees’ Insurance Court constituted by State Governments consisting of judges and other judicial officers or legal practitioners. Section 75 of the Act provides for list of matters to be decided by such Courts. Further sections of the Act deal with institution, commencement of the proceedings before such Courts. Section 78 of the Act is very important as it deals with powers of Court while dealing with such proceedings.

Chapter VII of the Act relates to Penal provisions where, Section 84 of the Act specks of default in payment of benefit under the Act is punishable with both imprisonment and fine. Section 85 of the Act deals with punishment as to non-payment of contributions, etc. which extends to imprisonment and fine too.

The Act was amended in the year 2010 by “The Employees’ State Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2010 (Act No.18 of 2010).

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan