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Sivaratri Ramakotamma Vs. Nagasarapu Krishnamurthy - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCase Referred No. 15 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1962AP177
ActsWorkmen's Compensation Act, 1923 - Sections 2(1)
AppellantSivaratri Ramakotamma
RespondentNagasarapu Krishnamurthy
Appellant AdvocateN. Bapi Raju, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateY.G. Krishnamurthi, Adv. General
Excerpt:
labour and industrial - reference - section 2 (1) of workmen's compensation act, 1923 - clerk employed by respondent died - wife of deceased claimed compensation - reference made to ascertain whether death occurred during course of work - death occurred far away from place of work - nothing to prove that deceased comes within the term workman - held, in such circumstances reference not maintainable. - .....in the handling or transport of goods in or within the precincts of the go down within the meaning of cl. 26 of schedule ii which contemplates the employee working in 'any warehouse or other place in which goods are stored and in which on any one day of the preceding twelve months ten or more persons have taken so employed'. we do not think that there is any warrant for invoking this clause. the finding of the commissioner was that the deceased was employed for writing accounts and for pruchasing stocks and for arranging for their transport. therefore the employment did not fall within the scope of clause(xxvi). (8) since it is not established that he was a workman within the contemplation of the workmen's compensation act the question that if he were a workman and if the accident.....
Judgment:

Chandra Reddy, C.J.

(1) A reference was made under Sec. 27 of the Workmen's Compensation Act by the Additional commissioner, Workmen's Compensation Andhra Pradesh under the following circumstances.

(2) An application was filed before him under Sec. 19 of the Act by the widow of one Mastana, an employee of the respondent claiming a sum of Rs. 1,200/ by way of compensation. Mastan, in the service of the respondent. His duties consisted in buying rice and other articles for the respondent and exporting them by boats. On 20-10-1953 he purchased rice on behalf of the respondent at vijiyavada loaded it in the boat and was travelling in the boat. Unfortunately the boat capsized while in the middle of the river with the result that eight peresons including the deceased died. It is in those circumstances that the widow of the said Mastan, a minor, through her next friend, he brother applied for compensation.

(3) The application was opossed on various grounds, one of them being that Mastan was not a workman within the meaning of the Workmen's Compensation Act and as such the provisions of Sec. 19 could not be invoked by his widow.

(4) The commissioner on the evidence, came to the conclusion that the deceased in addition to writing accounts was being sent to other places for purchasing stocks and for arranging for their transport and that the respondent employed more than ten persons in his business. On these findings, he held that the deceased was a 'workman' within the words of the Workmen's Compensation Act. He however entertained a doubt as to whether any compensation could be claimed by his dependants having regard to the fact that the accident occured far away from the place of employment. The Commissioner therefore, submitted this question of law for the decision of the High Court.

(5) In our opinion the reference was the result of miconception of the definition of 'workman'. The Commissioner thought that if an employee did some work for the employer besides being a clerk and if there were more than ten employees, he would satisfy the requirements of Section 2(1)(n). We think that he erred in thinking that the kind of work done by the employee in question fulfilled the terms of Sec. 2(1)(n) read with schedule II. Section (2) (n) recites:

'Workman' means any person (other than a person whose employment otherwise than for the purposes of the employer's trade or business) who is-

(i) a railway servant as defined in section of the indian Railways Act, 1890 (IX of 1890) not permanetly employed in any administrative, district or sub-divisional office of a railway and not employed in any such capacity as is specified in Schedule II, or

(ii) employed on monthly wages not exceeding four hundred rupees in any such capacity as is specified in Schedule II, whether the contract of employment was made before or after the passing of this Act and whether such contract is expressed or implied oral or in writing but does not include any person working in the capacity of a member of the Armed Forces of the Union; and any reference to a workman is dead include a reference to his dependants or any of them. * * * *

(6) To see whether an employee is a workman or not, we have to turn to Schedule II which contains a list of persons who are included in the definition of 'workman'.

(7) Sri Bapi Raju, learned counsel for the applicant urges that the deceased was a workman as he was employed in the handling or transport of goods in or within the precincts of the go down within the meaning of Cl. 26 of Schedule II which contemplates the employee working in 'any warehouse or other place in which goods are stored and in which on any one day of the preceding twelve months ten or more persons have taken so employed'. We do not think that there is any warrant for invoking this clause. The finding of the Commissioner was that the deceased was employed for writing accounts and for pruchasing stocks and for arranging for their transport. Therefore the employment did not fall within the scope of clause(xxvi).

(8) Since it is not established that he was a workman within the contemplation of the Workmen's Compensation Act the question that if he were a workman and if the accident occurred at a place on a river which was far away from the place of employment whether his dependants would been titled to claim compensation does not arise. It is, therefore, unnecessary to answer the reference.

(9) Order accordingly.


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