21. Recovery of bonus due from an employer
Where any money is due to an employee by way of bonus from his employer under a settlement or an award or agreement, the employee himself or any other person authorized by him in writing in this behalf, or in the case of the death of the employee, his assignee or heirs may, without prejudice to any other mode of recovery, make an application to the appropriate government for the recovery of the money due to him, and if the appropriate government or such authority as the appropriate government may specify in this behalf is satisfied that any money is so due, it shall issue a certificate for that amount to the Collector who shall proceed to recover the same in the same manner as an arrear of land revenue:
PROVIDED that every such application shall be made within one year from the date on which the money became due to the employee from the employer:
PROVIDED FURTHER that any such application may be entertained after the expiry of the said period of one year, if the appropriate government is satisfied that the applicant had sufficient cause for not making the application within the said period.
Explanation: In this section and in 23[sections 22, 23, 24 and 25] “employee” includes a person who is entitled to the payment of bonus under this Act but who is no longer in employment.
22. Reference of disputes under the Act
Where any dispute arises between an employer and his employees with respect to the bonus payable under this Act or with respect to the application of this Act to an establishment in public sector, then, such dispute shall be deemed to be an industrial dispute within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947), or of any corresponding law relating to investigation and settlement of industrial disputes, in force in a State and the provisions of that Act or, as the case may be, such law, shall, save as otherwise expressly provided, apply accordingly.
23. Presumption about accuracy of balance sheet and profit and loss account of corporations and companies
(1) Where, during the course of proceedings before any arbitrator or Tribunal under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947), or under any corresponding law relating to investigation and settlement of industrial disputes in force in a state (hereinafter in this section and in 24[sections 24 and 25] referred to as the “said authority”) to which any dispute of the nature specified in section 22 has been referred, the balance sheet and the profit and loss account of an employer, being a corporation or a company (other than a banking company), duly audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India or by auditors duly qualified to act as auditors of companies under sub-section (1) of section 226 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), are produced before it, then, the said authority may presume the statements and particulars contained in such balance sheet and profit and loss account to be accurate and it shall not be necessary for the corporation or the company to prove the accuracy of such statements and particulars by the filing of an affidavit or by any other mode:
PROVIDED that where the said authority is satisfied that the statements and particulars contained in the balance sheet or the profit and loss account of the corporation or the company are not accurate, it may take such steps as it thinks necessary to find out the accuracy of such statements and particulars.
(2) When an application is made to the said authority by any trade union being a party to the dispute or where there is no trade union, by the employees being a party to the dispute, requiring any clarification relating to any item in the balance sheet or the profit and loss account, it may, after satisfying itself that such clarification is necessary, by order, direct the corporation or, as the case may be, the company, to furnish to the trade union or the employees such clarification within such time as may be specified in the direction and the corporation or, as the case may be, the company, shall comply with such direction.
24. Audited accounts of banking companies not to be questioned
(1) Where any dispute of the nature specified in section 22 between an employer, being a banking company, and its employees has been referred to the said authority under that section and during the course of proceedings the accounts to the banking company duly audited are produced before it, the said authority shall not permit any trade union or employees to question the correctness of such accounts, but the trade union or the employees may be permitted to obtain from the banking company such information as is necessary for verifying the amount of bonus due under this Act.
(2) Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall enable the trade union or the employees to obtain any information which the banking company is not compelled to furnish under the provisions of section 34A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (10 of 1949).]
25. Audit of accounts of employers, not being corporations or companies
(1) Where any dispute of the nature specified in section 22 between an employer, not being a corporation or a company, and his employees has been referred to the said authority under that section and the accounts of such employer audited by any auditor duly qualified to act as auditor of companies under sub-section (1) of section 226 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), are produced before the said authority, the provisions of section 23 shall, so far as may be, apply to the accounts so audited.
(2) When the said authority finds that the accounts of such employer have not been audited by any such auditor and it is of opinion that an audit of the accounts of such employer is necessary for deciding the question referred to it, then, it may, by order, direct the employer to get his accounts audited within such time as may be specified in the direction or within such further time as it may allow by such auditor or auditors as it thinks fit and thereupon the employer shall comply with such direction.
(3) Where an employer fails to get the accounts audited under sub-section (2) the said authority may, without prejudice to the provisions of section 28, get the accounts audited by such auditor or auditors as it thinks fit.
(4) When the accounts are audited under sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) the provisions of section 23 shall, so far as may be, apply to the accounts so audited.
(5) The expenses of, and incidental to, any audit under sub-section (3) (including the remuneration of the auditor or auditors) shall be determined by the said authority (which determination shall be final) and paid by the employer and in default of such payment shall be recoverable from the employer in the manner provided in section 21.
26. Maintenance of registers, records, etc.
Every employer shall prepare and maintain such registers, records and other documents in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed.
(1) The appropriate government may, by notification in the Official Gazette appoint such persons as it thinks fit to be Inspectors for the purposes of this Act and may define the limits within which they shall exercise jurisdiction.
(2) An Inspector appointed under sub-section (1) may, for the purpose of ascertaining whether any of the provisions of this Act has been complied with-
(a) require an employer to furnish such information as he may consider necessary;
(b) at any reasonable time and with such assistance, if any, as he thinks fit, enter any establishment or any premises connected therewith and require anyone found in charge thereof to produce before him for examination any accounts, books, registers and other documents relating to the employment of persons or the payment of salary or wages or bonus in the establishment;
(c) examine with respect to any matter relevant to any of the purposes aforesaid, the employer, his agent or servant or any other person found in charge of the establishment or any premises connected therewith or any person whom the Inspector has reasonable cause to believe to be or to have been an employee in the establishment;
(d) make copies of, or take extracts from, any book, register or other document maintained in relation to the establishment;
(e) exercise such other power as may be prescribed.
(3) Every Inspector shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
(4) Any person required to produce any accounts, books, register or other documents or to give information by an Inspector under sub-section (1) shall be legally bound to do so.
6[(5) Nothing contained in this section shall enable an Inspector to require a banking company to furnish or disclose any statement or information or to produce, or give inspection of any of its books of account or other documents, which a banking company cannot be compelled to furnish, disclose, produce or give inspection of, under the provisions of section 34A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (10 of 1949).]
If any person,-
(a) contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or any rule made thereunder, or
(b) to whom a direction is given or a requisition is made under this Act fails to comply with the direction or requisition, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
29. Offences by companies
(1) If the person committing an offence under this Act is a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:
PROVIDED that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
Explanation : For the purposes of this section,-
(a) “company” means any body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and
(b) “director” in relation to a firm means a partner in the firm.
30. Cognizance of offences
(1) No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act, save on complaint made by or under the authority of appropriate government 6[or an officer of the government (not below the rank of a Regional Labor Commissioner in the case of an officer of the Central Government, and not below the rank of a Labor Commissioner in the case of an officer of the State Government) specially authorized in this behalf by that government.]
(2) No curt inferior to that of a Presidency Magistrate or a Magistrate of the First Class shall try any offence punishable under this Act.