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Rewa Coalfields Ltd. Vs. Sardar Trilok Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance;Motor Vehicles
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inII(1984)ACC252
AppellantRewa Coalfields Ltd.
RespondentSardar Trilok Singh and anr.
Cases ReferredIn General Manager B.E.S.T. Undertaking v. Mrs. Agnes
Excerpt:
.....appellant - however opinion of doctor proved that deceased had not died due to direct result of said injury held, appellant is therefore liable to be convicted under section 324 of i.p.c., sentence of 3 years imprisonment reduced to period undergone by appellant considering mental agony suffered by him - 3. the appellant as well as respondent no. it is now well settled that according to the theory of notional extension of the employer's premises so as to include an area which the workman passes in going to and in leaving the actual place of work, there may be reasonable extension in both time and place and a workman may be regarded as in the course of his employment even though he has not reached or had left the employer's premises. the proviso clearly empowers the commissioner to..........47, and 48 all of 1978, against the orders dated 5-11-1977 passed by the labour court shahdol in workmen's compensation cases nos. 33/77, 34/77, 35/77, 36/77 (f), 37/77(0, 38/77(f), 43/77(nf), 45/77(nf), 48/77(nf), 50/77(nf) 51/77(f), 52/77(nf), 53/77(nf) and 54/77(f), respectively.2. the facts in brief leading to these 14 appeals are that respondent no. 1 sardar trilok singh had entered into a contract dated 1st january, 1971 with the appellant to transport coal belonging to the appellant company from its mining area to the works of m/s orient paper mills ltd. at amlai on the terms and conditions embodied in the agreement ex.d-1. the said contractor respondent no. 1 engaged some persons as workmen for loading trucks at the mining area of the appellant and for unloading the same at the.....
Judgment:

Faizan Uddin, J.

1. The order passed in this appeal will also govern the disposal of Misc. (First) Appeals Nos. 36,37, 38,39,40,41,42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, and 48 all of 1978, against the orders dated 5-11-1977 passed by the Labour Court Shahdol in Workmen's Compensation Cases Nos. 33/77, 34/77, 35/77, 36/77 (f), 37/77(0, 38/77(f), 43/77(NF), 45/77(NF), 48/77(NF), 50/77(NF) 51/77(F), 52/77(NF), 53/77(NF) and 54/77(F), respectively.

2. The facts in brief leading to these 14 appeals are that respondent No. 1 Sardar Trilok Singh had entered into a contract dated 1st January, 1971 with the appellant to transport coal belonging to the appellant company from its mining area to the works of M/S Orient Paper Mills Ltd. at Amlai on the terms and conditions embodied in the agreement Ex.D-1. The said contractor respondent No. 1 engaged some persons as workmen for loading trucks at the mining area of the appellant and for unloading the same at the work of Orient Paper Mills Amlai. On 1st February, 1971 at about 8.00 a.m. the loaded truck No. 8426 proceeded from the mining area of the appellant and the workmen were sitting over the loaded truck. When it reached near Kherha and Dhanpuri crossing, it is said that the truck over turned due to rash and negligent driving of its driver resulting into the death of some of the workmen and causing injuries to others, including the respective claimants. The workmen who had sustained personal injuries and the dependents of those who died in the accident made claim petitioner before the Labour Court for award of compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), Contending that the truck involved in the accident belonged to the contractor Trilok Singh respondent No. 1 and the persons involved in the accident were the workmen employed by the said contractor. Subsequently an application was made on 9-5-1972 for impleading appellant as non-applicant No. 2 which was allowed by the Labour Court and the appellant were added as non-applicant No. 9 in the respective claim petition filed by the claimants.

3. The appellant as well as respondent No. 1 contested the claim petitions on various grounds. After considering the evidence the Labour Court allowed the applications and granted compensation to the claimants against the appe- Ilant holding the appellant liable for payment of the compensation as principal Under Section 12 of the An. The Labour Court took the view that claimant or the deceased as the case may be, were workmen Under Section 2(n) of the Act and the appellant was their principal employer within the meaning of Section 12 of the Act against which these appeals have been directed.

4. Learned Counsel for the appellant first contended that according to the agreement Ex. D-1 dated 1-1-1971 the liability upon the appellant could not be fastened Under Section 12 of the Act, as the appellant were not the employer nor the claimant or the deceased were the workmen of the appellant and secondly because the incident had not taken place in the mining area but very far away from the mining area where the appellant had no control. In my opinion there is no merit in this contention and, therefore, it must be rejected.

5. For ready reference relevant Sub-section (1) of Section 12 of the Act may be reproduced which runs as follows:

12(17)--Where any person (hereinafter in this Section referred to as principal) in the course of or for ths purposes of his trade or business contracts with any other person (hereinafter in this Section referred to as the contractor) for the execution by or under the contractor of the whole or any part of any work which is ordinarily part of the trade or business of the principal, the principal shall be liable to pay to any workmen employed in the execution of the work any compensation which he would have been liable to pay if that workmen had been immediately employed by him and where compensation is claimed from the principal, this Act shall apply as if references to the principal were substituted for references to the employer except that the amount of compensation shall be calculated with reference to the wages of the workman under the employer by whom he is immediately employed.

In the present case admittedly respondent No. 1 Sardar Trilok Singh was a contractor under the appellant engaged in the transportation of the material from the mining area of the appellant to the Orient Paper Mill of the appellant. The appellant were therefore, the 'Principal' within the meaning of Sub-section (1) of Section 12 of the Act and the appellant were liable under the said provisions as 'Principal' who had their right of indemnity against the Contractor respondent No. 1 and 2 under Sub-section (1) of Section 12 of the Act.

6. The question in controversy in these appeals is covered by a Division Bench decision of Gujrat High Court in Smt. Vimlaben Vashrambhai and Ors. v. The Gujrat Housing Board 1975 A.C.J. 84 wherein it has been held that a labourer employed by a contractor for constructing the building of Gujrat Housing Board who fell down while plast ring the wall, which resulted into his death, the principal, that is, the Gujrat Housing Board under whom the con-tractor was constructing the building under a contract was constructing the building under a contract was liable to pay compensation for death of a workman employed by the Contractor Under Section 12(1) of the Act, The same view was reiterated by Calcutta High Court in The Great India Tradine Co v. Mohd. Taslim 1969 A.CJ. 243 by holding that by virtue of the provision; of Section 12(1) of the Act, the appellants of that case were liable to pay com- pensation being principal to whom the services of the workman had been lent by the contractor and under whose superintendence the work of contract was being done. In these circumstances it could not be said that the labour Court committed any error in fastening the liability with the appellant for pavment of compensation awarded to the claimants.

7. The learned Counsel for the appellant, however relying on the decision in Great India Trading Company v. Mohd. Taslim (supra) further contended that the provisions of Section 12 were applicable only when the contractor was carrying out the kind of work as was normally carried out by the principal in the course of their business. He submitted that as the appellant were not carrying out the transportation business, therefore, they were not liable Under Section 12(1) of the Act as the principal. I do not find any substance in this submission also as the appellant had not supply the material to the Orient Paper Mills at Amlai and they would have normally themselves done so but for the contract with respondent No. 1 to transport the same, and, therefore, the provisions of Section 12(1) of the Act were attracted.

8. As regards the argument of the learned Counsel for the appellant that because the accident has taken place outside the Mining Area and far away from that area, where the appellant had no control and, therefore, it cannot be said that the accident took place in the course of the employment of the workmen, also has no merit:

It is now well settled that according to the theory of notional extension of the employer's premises so as to include an area which the workman passes in going to and in leaving the actual place of work, there may be reasonable extension in both time and place and a workman may be regarded as in the course of his employment even though he has not reached or had left the employer's premises. See--Saurashtra Salt Manufacturing Co. v. Bai Valu Raja and Ors. : (1958)IILLJ249SC . In General Manager B.E.S.T. Undertaking v. Mrs. Agnes : (1963)IILLJ615SC their Lordships of the Supreme Court took the view that the driver of the B.E.S.T. undertaking met with an accident while going home from the Depot, would be regar ded as an accident during the course of his employment in the present case taken to its destination for unloading and, therefore, the accident would be regarded to have taken place during the course of the employment.

9. Learned Counsel for the appellant lastly contended that Under Section 10 of the Act period of limitation for filing the claim is one year from the date of the accident while in the present case, the appellant were added as a party beyond the said period of one year and, therefore, the claim against the appellant was barred by time. But I do not find any substance in this submission also. It may be pointed out that the period of limitation as prescribed under, Section 10 of the Act is 2 years in case of death, from the date of acci- dent and the appellant took no specific plea in their written statement nor there was any issue nor the labour Court was addressed on this point. If the appellant had raised this question specifically, presumably the claimants would have come forward with reasonable explanation, as provided in 3rd proviso to Section 10(1) of the Act for joining the appellant at a late stage. The proviso clearly empowers the Commissioner to entertain and decide any claim of compensation even if the same has not been preferred in due time if he is satisfied that the failure to prefer a claim was due to any sufficient cause. In the absence of any pleading in that behalf, the appellant could not be allowed to Taise that objection specially at this late stage, as it would not be advisable, to remand the case, to the labour Court for an enquiry on the question whether there was any sufficient cause with the claimants for not proceeding against the appellant within the time prescribed by Sub-section (1) of Section 10 of the Act.

10. In the result, the appeals, Misc. (First) Appeals Nos. 35/78, 36/78, 37/78, 38/78, 39/78, 40/78, 41/78, 42/78, 43/78, 44/78, 45/78, 47/78 and 48 of 1978 fail and are hereby dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 100/- in each case, if certified.


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