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SEAMEN'S PROVIDENT FUND ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 4 of 1966


  • Schedules
  • Amending Acts
  • Act nº 4 of 1966

Preamble

1 THE SEAMEN'S PROVIDENT FUND ACT, 1966

[Act, No.4of 1966]

[26th March,1966]

PREAMBLE

An Act toprovide for the institution of a provident fund for seamen.

BEit enacted by Parliament in the Seventeenth Year of the Republic of India asfollows:-

1."The Seamen's Provident Fund (Amendment) Act, 1966 wasamended by . The Seamen's Provident Fund (Amendment) Act, 1997 and wasenforced on 28th May, 1997.


Section 1. Short title and application

(1) This Act may be called the Seamen's Provident Fund Act, 1966.

(2) Unless otherwise expressly provided, the provisions of this Act shall apply to every seamen and to the employer of such seaman.

Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-

(a) "agreement with the crew" means the agreement referred to in section 100 or, as the case may be, section 114 of the Merchant Shipping Act;

(b) "Board means the Board of Trustees of the Seamen's Provident Fund constituted under section 5;

(c) "continuous discharge certificate" means the certificate referred to in section 99 of the Merchant Shipping Act;

(d) "contribution" means a contribution payable in respect of a member under the Scheme;

(e) "employer", in relation to a seaman, means the owner of the ship on which the seaman is employed or engaged, or the agent of such owner or the master of the ship;

(f) "fund" means the Seamen's Provident Fund established under the Scheme;

(g) "Government" means the Central Government;

(h) "master" and "ship" have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Merchant Shipping Act;

(i) "member" means a seaman who is in possession of a continuous discharge certificate and who is admitted as a member of the Fund;

(j) "Merchant Shipping Act" means the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958(44 of 1958);

(k) "Scheme" means the Seamen's Provident Fund Scheme framed under sub-section (1) of section 3;

(l) "seaman" means a person employed or engaged as a member of the crew of a ship under the Merchant Shipping Act but does not include1[ a welfare officer, nurse, musician, pilot or deck barber]

(m) "service" means the period of employment of a seaman under the agreement with the crew and includes any period in respect of which wages are paid or are payable to him;

(n) "wages" means the basic wages for the time being payable to a seaman under the agreement with the crew and includes -

(i) any remuneration to which he is entitled in respect of holidays or any leave period;

(ii) any increase of such wages in accordance with such agreement or any other agreement between the parties; but does not include the overtime allowance.

1. Substituted for words "a master, navigating or engineering officer, radio officer, medical officer, welfare officer, purser, electrician, nurse, musician, pilot, apprentice or deck barber;" by The Seamen's Provident Fund (Amendment) Act, 1997.


Section 3. Seamens Provident Fund Scheme

(1) The Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, frame a scheme to be called the Seamen's Provident Fund Scheme for the established, as soon as may be after the framing of the Scheme, a Fund in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the Scheme.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Scheme may provide for all or any of the matters specified in the Schedule to this Act.

(3) The Scheme may provide that any of its provisions shall take effect either prospectively or retrospectively on such date as may be specified in this behalf in the Scheme.

(4) The Scheme shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force other than this Act or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act.

(5) The Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, add to, amend, very or rescind the Scheme.

Section 4. Vesting of Fund, etc.

(1) The Fund referred to in sub-section (1) of section 3shall vest in, and be administered by, the Board constituted under section 5.

(2) The moneysin the Fund shall be applied for --

(a) meetingthe pay and allowances of the employees of the Board and the administrativeexpenses of the Board;

(b) carryingout the purposes of this Act.

(3) All moneysin the Fund shall be deposited in the 1 [an approved Bank] of India orbe invested in such securities as may be approved by the Government.

2 [Explanation.- In this section, "approvedbank" means the State Bank of India constituted under section 3 of theState Bank of India Act, 1955(23 of 1955), or a subsidiary bank as defined inclause (k) of section 2 of the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act,1959(38 of 1959), or a corresponding new bank constituted under section 3 of theBanking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970 (5 of1970), or a corresponding new bank constituted under section 3 of the BankingCompanies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1980(40 of 1980).]

1."An approved bank" substituted for "the state bank ofIndia" by The Seamen's Provident Fund (Amendment) Act, 1997.

2. Explanation to section 4 added by The Seamen's ProvidentFund (Amendment) Act, 1997.


Section 5. Constitution of Board of Trustees

(1) The Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute, with effect from such date as may be specified therein, a Board to be known as the Board of Trustees of the Seamen's Provident Fund which shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal and may, by that name, sue and be sued.

(2) The head office of the Board shall be in Bombay or at such other place as the Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify.

(3) The Board shall consist of --

(a) a Chairman to be appointed by the Government;

(b) not more than three persons appointed by the Government from amongst its officials;

(c) three persons representing employers, to be appointed by the Government after consultation with such organisation or organisations of employers as may be recognised by the Government in this behalf;

(d) three persons representing seamen, to be appointed by the Government after consultation with such organisation or organisations of seamen as may be recognised by the Government in this behalf.

(4) The terms and conditions subject to which a member of the Board may be appointed and the time, place and procedure of the meetings of the Board, including the quorum, shall be such as may be provided for in the Scheme.

(5) The Board shall administer the Fund vested in it in such manner as may be specified in the Scheme.

(6) The Board shall perform such other functions as it may be required to perform by or under any provision of the Scheme.

Section 6. Committees

(1) The Board may, from time to time, constitute one or more committee or committees for exercising any power or discharging any duty of the Board or for inquiring into, or reporting and advising on, any matter which the Board may refer to such committee or committees.

(2) A committee may include persons who are not members of the Board but their number shall not exceed one-half of its strength.

Section 7. Appointment of employees of Board

(1) The Government shall appoint a Seamen'sProvident Fund Commissioner who shall be the chief executive officer of theBoard and shall be subject to the general control and superintendence of theBoard.

(2) TheGovernment may also appoint as many Deputy Seamen's Provident Fund Commissioners1 [***], as it may consider necessary, to assist the Seamen'sProvident Fund Commissioner in the discharge of his duties.

(3) The Boardmay appoint such other officers and employees as it may consider necessary forthe efficient administration of the Scheme.

(4) Noappointment to the post of the Seamen's Provident Fund Commissioner or DeputySeamen's Provident Fund Commissioner 2 [***]shall be made except afterconsultation with the Union Public Service Commission:

Provided thatno such consultation shall be necessary in regard to any such appointment --

(a) for aperiod not exceeding one year; or

(b) if theperson to be appointed is at the time of his appointment --

(i) a memberof the Indian Administrative Service; or

(ii) in theservice of the Government in a Class I or Class II post or in the service of theBoard.

(5) The methodof recruitment, salary and allowances, discipline and other conditions ofservice of the Seamen's Provident Fund Commissioner and of the officers referredto in sub-section (2) shall be such as may be specified by the Government.

(6) The methodof recruitment, salary and allowances, discipline and other conditions ofservice of other officers and employees of the Board shall be such as may bespecified by the Board with the approval of the Government.

(7) Allpersons appointed under this section shall be the employees of the Board.

1. Words "and other officers whose maximum monthly salary isnot less than six hundred rupees" omitted by The Seamen's Provident Fund(Amendment) Act, 1997.

2. Words "or to any other post carrying a maximum monthlysalary of not less than six hundred rupees" omitted by The Seamen'sProvident Fund (Amendment) Act, 1997.


Section 8. Contributions

(1) Every employer to whom this Act applies shall, in respect of each seaman (being a member) employed by him, contribute to the Fund for the period beginning with the 1st day of July, 1964 and ending with the 31st day of March, 1968, at the rate of six per cent,1[ for the period beginning with the 1st day of April, 1968 and ending with the 31st day of December, 1977, at the rate of eight per cent., and thereafter at the rate of ten per cent. or such higher rate as may be specified in the Scheme], of the wages paid or payable to each such seaman and every such seaman shall also contribute to the Fund an amount equal to the contribution payable by the employer in respect of him:

Provided that the amount of contribution aforesaid shall, in so far as it relates to the period prior to the commencement of the Scheme, be payable by the employer or, as the case may be, by the seaman only on such date (being a date not earlier than sixty days after the commencement of the Scheme) as the Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.

(2) The employer shall pay, in respect of each seaman (being a member) employed by him, both the employer's contribution and the employee's contribution and shall be entitled to recover from the seaman the employee's contribution by deduction from his wages and not otherwise.

(3) Every employer shall also pay such sums of money as may be specified in the Scheme towards the cost of administering the Fund.

(4) Where the amount of any contribution under sub-section (1) or any sum payable under sub-section (3) contains a part of a rupee then, if such part if fifty paise or more, it shall be increased to one complete rupee and if such part is less than fifty paise it shall be ignored.

1. Substituted for words " and thereafter at the rate of eight percent" by The Seamen's Provident Fund (Amendment) Act, 1997.


Section 9. Determination of moneys due from employers

(1) The Seamen's Provident Fund Commissioner or any Deputy Seamen's Provident Fund Commissioner may, by order, determine the amount due from any employer under any provision of this Act or of the Scheme and for this purpose may conduct such inquiry as he may deem necessary.

(2) The officer conducting the inquiry under sub-section (1) shall, for the purposes of such inquiry, have the same powers as are vested in a court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908(5 of 1908), for trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely: --

(a) enforcing the attendance of any person or examining him on oath;

(b) requiring the discovery and production of documents;

(c) receiving evidence on affidavit;

(d) issuing commission for the examination of witnesses;

and any such inquiry shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purpose of section 196, of the Indian Penal Code.(45 of 1860)

(3) No order shall be made under this section unless the employer has been given a reasonable opportunity of representing his case.

(4) An order made under this section shall be final and shall not be questioned in any court of law.

Section 10. Mode of recovery of moneys due from employers

Any amount due from an employer in respect of any contribution payable to the Fund, or damages recoverable under section 18 or any charges payable by him under any other provision of this Act or under any provision of the Scheme, may, if the amount is in arrears, be recovered by the Government in the same manner as an arrears of land revenue.

Section 11. Fund deemed to be recognised Provident Fund under Act 43 of 1961

For the purposes of the Income-tax Act, 1961 the Fund shall be deemed to be a recognised provident fund within the meaning of that Act.

Section 12. Protection against attachment

(1) The amount standing to the credit of any member in the Fund shall not in any way be capable of being assigned or charged and shall not be liable to attachment under any decree or order of any court of any debt or liability incurred by the member and neither the official assignee appointed under the Presidency Towns Insolvency Act, 1909(3 of 1909), nor any receiver appointed under the Provincial Insolvency Act, 1920(5 of 1920), shall be entitled to, or have any claim on, any such amount.

(2) Any amount standing to the credit of any member in the Fund at the time of his death and payable under the Scheme to his nominee shall, subject to any deduction authorised by the Scheme, vest in the nominee and shall be free from any debt or other liability incurred by the deceased or he nominee before the death of the member.

Section 13. Priority of payment of contributions over other debts

Where any employer is adjudicated insolvent, or, being a company, an order for winding up is made, the amount due from the employer in respect of any contribution payable to the Fund, damages recoverable under section 18 or any charges payable by him under any other provision of this Act or under any provision of the Scheme shall, where the liability therefor has accrued before the order of adjudication or winding up is made, be deemed to be included among the debts which under section 49 of the Presidency Towns Insolvency Act, 1909(3 of 1909), or under section 61 of the Provincial Insolvency Act, 1920(5 of 1920), or under section 530 of the Companies Act, 1956(1 of 1956), are to be paid in priority to all other debts in the distribution of the property of the insolvent or the assets of the company being wound up, as the case may be.

Section 14. Employer not to reduce wages

No employer shall, by reason only of his liability for the payment of any contribution to the Fund or any charges under this Act or the Scheme, reduce, whether directly or indirectly, the wages of any seaman to whom the Scheme applies or the total quantum of benefits in the nature of old age pension, gratuity or provident fund to which the seaman is entitled under the agreement with the crew or any other agreement between the parties.