Contract Labour – Control and Supervision

The expression “control and supervision” in the context of contract labour was explained by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of International Airport Authority of India v. International Air Cargo Workers’ Union, (2009) 13 SCC 374 as under:
“If the Contract is for supply of labour, necessarily, the labour supplied by the contractor will work under the directions, supervision and control of the principal employer but that would not make the worker a direct employee of the principal employer, if the salary is paid by a contractor, if the right to regulate the employment is with the contractor, and the ultimate supervision and control lies with the contractor.
The principal employer only controls and directs the work to be done by a contract labour, when such labour is assigned/allotted/sent to him. But it is the contractor as employer, who chooses whether the worker is to be assigned/allotted to the principal employer or otherwise. In short, worker being the employee of the contractor, the ultimate supervision and control lies with the contractor as he decides where the employee will work and how long he will work and subject to what conditions. Only when the contractor assigns/sends the worker to work under the principal employer, the worker works under the supervision and control of the principal employer but that is secondary control. The primary control is with the contractor.” Workmen, Bihar Colliery Kamgar Union v. Bharat Coking Coal India Ltd., 2014 (142) FLR 536.

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