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Raghunath Sahai Vs. Sarup Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberF.A.F.O. No. 24 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1962All620; [1961(3)FLR445]; (1962)ILLJ19All
ActsWorkmen's Compensation Act, 1923 - Sections 2
AppellantRaghunath Sahai
RespondentSarup Singh
Appellant AdvocateD.P. Agarwala, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.D. Pandey and ;V.P. Misra, Advs.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
labour and industrial - workman - section 2 (f) of workmen's compensation act, 1923 - 'subordinate' - interpretation - subordinate in law and not in fact -held , appellant subordinate to employer and not a managing agent of the employer. - .....rs. 505/- as compensation.2. the motor vehicle no. usl 5011 stood registered in the name of sm. kampa devi residing at ghaziabad. the appellant, her uncle-in-law, was looking after the business. the respondent was engaged as a driver by him. while on the 9th september, 1955, the respondent was taking air in a wheel of the vehicle its ring flew out and struck the respondent who sustained grievous and simple injuries incapacitating him as a driver. he remained under medical treatment for some time. the respondent made an application claiming compensation from the appellant.3. the commissioner found that the respondent had sustained injuries in the course of his employment and was entitled to rs. 505/- as compensation for which the appellant was liable as managing agent of sm. kampa.....
Judgment:

J.D. Sharma, J.

1. This is an appeal under section 30 of the Workmen's Compensation Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) against an order dated the 31st October, 1956, of the Workmen's Compensation Commissioner, Meerut, awarding to the respondent Rs. 505/- as compensation.

2. The motor vehicle No. USL 5011 stood registered in the name of Sm. Kampa Devi residing at Ghaziabad. The appellant, her uncle-in-law, was looking after the business. The respondent was engaged as a driver by him. While on the 9th September, 1955, the respondent was taking air in a wheel of the vehicle its ring flew out and struck the respondent who sustained grievous and simple injuries incapacitating him as a driver. He remained under medical treatment for some time. The respondent made an application claiming compensation from the appellant.

3. The Commissioner found that the respondent had sustained injuries in the course of his employment and was entitled to Rs. 505/- as compensation for which the appellant was liable as managing agent of Sm. Kampa Devi, owner of the vehicle.

4. When the appeal came up for hearing before me on the 23rd December, 1960, it was urged on behalf of the appellant that on the materials it was not proved that he was the managing agent and therefore no order for compensation could be made against him. The finding that the respondent had sustained injuries in the course of his employment and was entitled to Rs. 505/- as compensation was not challenged.

5. As the evidence on the record was too inadequate to come to the conclusion whether or not the appellant Raghunath Sahai was the managing agent of Sm. Kampa Devi, I sent down to the Commissioner the following issue for a finding :-

'Was the appellant Raghunath Sahai managing agent, as defined in Section 2(f) of the Work men's Compensation Act of Sm. Kampa Devi, the owner of the motor vehicle No. USL 5011?'

The parties were given a right to adduce fresh evidence.

6. The learned Commissioner has on a consideration of the evidence come to the conclusion that the appellant Raghunath Sahai was the managing agent of Sm. Kampa Devi.

6a. The only question canvassed in appeal is whether or not the appellant Raghunath Sahai was the managing agent of Sm. Kampa Devi so as to be liable for compensation under Section 3 of the Act.

7. There can be no doubt that Raghunath Sahai was looking after the business on behalf of Sm. Kampa Devi, but the question is if he is a managing agent as defined in Section 2(f) of the Act. That section says:

'Managing agent means any person appointed or acting as the representative of another person for the purpose of carrying on such other person's trade or business, but does not include an individual manager subordinate to an employer.'

The definition has two parts--the first part is wide in scope and includes in its ambit any person appointed or acting as the representative of another for the purpose of carrying on such other person's trade or business. It is not necessary that an employer should make an appointment; merely acting as a representative will constitute one as a managing agent. But the second part of the definition is restrictive in scope and it excludes an individual manager subordinate to an employer. The expression is rather vague and not quite free from ambiguity, and being in the nature of a proviso has to be interpreted strictly. Now, an individual appointed or acting as a manager will be subordinate to an employer in the sense of being dependent or subservient. Who then can be a managing agent not subordinate to an employer? It appears to me that Section 2(f) contemplates two modes of constituting a managing agent--by appointment or by just one acting as a representative.

'Employer' as defined in Section 2(e) of the Act includes any body of persons, whether incorporated or not, and any managing agent of an employer. An employer may be one individual or more than one. If there are two or more employers then it will be open to them to appoint one of them as a managing agent. A managing agent so appointed will not be subordinate to the employers, and his position will substantially be akin to that of a managing agent as defined in Section 2(25) of the Indian Companies Act. It may be that an employer is a minor or insane or under some disability. In that case a guardian or any other person acting as the representative of the employer for the purpose of carrying on such employer's trade or business will be a managing agent, not subordinate to that employer. In my opinion 'subordinate' means subordinate in law and not in fact. The appellant as an uncle-in-law of Sm. Kampa Devi may not in fact be subordinate to her and may be acting on his own initiative, but as an individual manager he is in law subordinate to the employer, namely, Sm. Kampa Devi. Therefore he was not the managing agent of the employer as defined in Section 2(f) of theAct, and no order of compensation could be made against him.

8. The result is no doubt unfortunate, but perhaps the respondent can still pursue his remedy against the employer.

9. The appeal is allowed and the order datedthe 31st October, 1956, passed by the Workmen'sCompensation Commissioner, Meerut, is set aside.In the circumstances the parties shall bear theirown costs throughout.


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