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Business Environment and Law-Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923

Procedure For Claiming Compensation - Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923

   Posted On :  15.05.2018 05:43 am

An injured workman may either file a civil suit for damages against the employer or claim compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923. He has to make a choice between these two reliefs.

Procedure For Claiming Compensation
 
An injured workman may either file a civil suit for damages against the employer or claim compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923. He has to make a choice between these two reliefs.
 
Section 3(5) of the Act provides that no claim for compensation can be made under the Act, if the workman has filed a civil suit. It further provides that a workman cannot file a suit for damages in any court of law, if
 
1. He has filed a claim under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923; or
 
2. There is an agreement between the workmen and his employer providing for the payment of compensation according to the provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923.
 
In a civil suit for damages, the employer can put forward all the defenses available to him under the law of torts. Moreover, a civil suit is a risky and costly affair. A claim under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 is safe and less costly.

Appeal (Sec.30)

 
Under Section 30 of the Act, an appeal lies to the High Court from following orders of the Commissioner:
 
1. An order awarding as compensation, a lump-sum whether by way of redemption of a half-monthly payment or otherwise or disallowing a claim in full or in part for a lump-sum.
 
2. An order awarding interest or penalty;
 
3. An order refusing to allow redemption of half-monthly payment;
 
4. An order providing for the distribution of compensation among the dependants of a deceased workman, or disallowing any claim of a person alleging himself to be such dependent;
 
5. An order allowing or disallowing any claim for the amount of an indemnity under the provisions of Section 12 (2);
 
6. An order refusing to register a Memorandum of agreement of registering the same or providing for the registration of the same subject to conditions.
 
According to the first proviso to this section, no appeal lies against any order unless a substantial question of law is involved, and in the case of an order other than an order refusing to allow redemption of a half-monthly payment, the amount in dispute is not less than three hundred rupees.
 
An appeal will also not lie, if the parties have agreed to abide by the decision of the Commissioner, or in which the order of the Commissioner gives effect to an agreement between the parties.
 
No appeal by an employer under clause (a) above shall lie, unless the Memorandum of appeal is accompanied by a certificate by the Commissioner to the effect that the appellant has deposited with him the amount payable under the order appealed against.
 
The period of limitation for an appeal is 60 days, and the provisions of Section 5 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, will also apply to appeal under this section.
 

Penalties

 
Section 18A of the Act prescribes penalties for the contravention of the provisions of the Act which include fine up to Rs.5,000. The following omissions attract this punishment under the Act:
 
1. Whosoever fails to maintain a notice book which he is required to maintain under Section 10(3); or
2. Whosoever fails to send to the Commissioner a statement of fatal accidents which he is required to send under Section 10A(1); or
3. Whosoever fails to send a report of fatal accidents and serious bodily injuries which he is required to send under Section 10B; or
4. Whosoever fail to make a return of injuries and compensation which he is required to make under Section 16.

 
 No prosecution under Section 18A shall be instituted except by or with the previous sanction of the Commissioner and no court shall take cognizance of any offence under this section unless complaint is made within 6 months of the date on which the alleged commission of offence comes to the knowledge of the Commissioner.
 

Amended Provisions In The Act

 
The minimum amount of compensation payable under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, yet ithas been enhanced from 50,000 to 80,000 in case of death and from 60,000 to 90,000 in case of permanent total disablement with effect from 08/12/2000. From the same date the ceiling of the maximum amount of compensation has been doubled from Rs. 2.28 lakh to 4.56 lakh in case of death and from Rs. 2.74 lakh to 5.48 lakh in case of permanent total disablement.
 
The 39th session of Indian Labour Conference was held on 16-18 October 2003 and deliberated various issues like child labour, bonded labour, women labour, etc.
 

Summary

 
India’s first social security legislation was passed in 1923. The Workmen’s Compensation Act was to provide injury compensation to industrial workers. The Act imposes obligation on the employer to pay compensation for accidents arising out of and in course of employment. The Act was amended in 1962 raising the wage limit to Rs.400 per month, and the 1976 amendment raised the wage limit to Rs.1, 000 per month, and a later amendment raised it to Rs.1, 600 per month.
 
The Compensation limits, incase of death, was raised from Rs.10,000 to 30,000 and for permanent and total disablement from Rs.14,000 to 40,000 by the same amendment. The term “workmen” in the Act refers to those employed in factories, mines, plantations, construction work and other hazardous occupations, except those covered by Employee State Insurance Act, 1948, and clerical employees.
 
The Compensation is related to the extent of the injury or circumstances of death. However, the employee cannot claim any compensation, if he sustains injuries under the influence of drugs, alcohol, etc. The Act provides for half-monthly payment for temporary disablement. The compensation cannot exceed half the monthly wages. A Commissioner appointed by the Government administers the Act. The employer is required to file annual return giving details of the compensation paid, number of injuries and other particulars.
 
If the workman contacts any occupational disease due to the employment in that particular job, it would be deemed to be an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment for purposes of the Act. In this case, the compensation will be payable, only, if the workman has been in service of the employer for more than six months.
 
If the employer does not pay the compensation within one month from the date it fell due, the Commissioner may order recovery of not only the amount of arrears but also a simple interest at the rate of six per cent per annum on the amount due. If there is no justification for the delay in the opinion of the Commissioner, an additional sum not exceeding 50 per cent of such amount may be recovered from the employer by way of penalty.
 

 

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