21. Claims relating to wages.- (1) The Government may by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint any Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation Act or other officer with experience as a Judge of a Civil Court or as a Stipendiary Magistrate to be the authority to hear and decide all claims arising out of delayed payment or non-payment of earned wages of an employee employed in any establishment.
(2) Application for any such claim may be made to the authority appointed under sub-section (1) by the employee himself or any Official of a registered trade union authorised in writing to act on his behalf or any legal practitioner or the Chief Inspector for a direction under sub-section (3):
Provided that every such application should be presented within one year from the date the claim for such wages has become payable under this Act:
Provided further that an application may be admitted after the said period of one year when the applicant satisfies the authority that he had sufficient cause for not making the application within such period.
(3) When any application under sub-section (2) is entertained, the authority shall hear the applicant and the employer, or give them an opportunity of being heard and after such further enquiry, if any, as it may consider necessary may without prejudice to any other penalty to which employer may be liable under this Act, direct the payment to the employee of the amount due to him together with the payment of such compensation as the authority may think fit, not exceeding half the amount so due or Rs. 100, whichever is less.
(4) If the authority hearing any application under this section is satisfied that it was either malicious or vexatious, it may direct that a penalty not exceeding hundred rupees be paid to the employer by the person presenting the application.
(5) Any amount directed to be paid under this section may be recovered,—
(a) if the authority is a Magistrate, by the authority as if it was a fine imposed by the authority as a Magistrate, or
(b) if the authority is not Magistrate, by any Magistrate to whom the authority makes application in this behalf, as if it were a fine imposed by such Magistrate.
(6) Every direction of the authority under this section shall be final.
(7) Every authority appointed under sub-section (1) shall have all powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) for the purpose of taking evidence and of enforcing the attendance of witnesses and compelling the production of documents, and every such authority shall be deemed to be a civil court for all the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXXV of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898).