Skip to content


Budhei Jena Vs. Deulbera Colliery, National Coal Development Corporation Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in42(1976)CLT1002; (1977)ILLJ128Ori
AppellantBudhei Jena
RespondentDeulbera Colliery, National Coal Development Corporation Ltd.
Cases ReferredPowell v. Great Western Railway Co.
Excerpt:
.....of notional extension of the employer's premises so as to include an area which the workman passes and repasses in going to and in leaving the actual place of work......thereof. it was also alleged that the duty hour of the loader on that day was from 3 p.m. and the place of employment of the said loader was at a distance of about 3 furlongs away from his residential quarters. on the above facts it was asserted that the said accident, in any view of the matter, did not arise out of and in course of his employment.3. the court below, on as appreciation of the evidence adduced before it, arrived at the finding that the loader did not sustain the fatal injury due to anything arising out of and in course of his employment, and so he was not entitled to get any compensation from his employer. on the evidence of p.w. 4, that when he went to the place of occurrence he found that the said electric wire was inside the fist of the loader and it was lying on his.....
Judgment:

S. Acharya, J.

1. The appellant is the wife of Madhusudan of Jena who was employed as a loader in the Deulabera Colliery. Madhusudan died electric shock as a result of his coming in contact with the high tension electric wire which was hanging down from the electric poles near the back side of his quarters in the colliery area. The appellant claimed compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act' on the allegation that her husband died of the aforesaid accident while he was under the employment of the said colliery.

2. The manager of the said colliery, opposite party in the Court below and respondent in this appeal, entered appearance and filed his written statement, inter alia, stating therein that the husband of the claimant did not die due to any accident arising out of and in course of his employment in the said colliery. According to the respondent, the husband of the claimant was attempting to steal the copper electric high tension wire which somehow was hanging down from rites fittings at a place near about the back side of the quarters allotted to the loaders in the colliery premises, and while attempting to steal the said electric wire the loader was electrocuted and died as a consequence thereof. It was also alleged that the duty hour of the loader on that day was from 3 p.m. and the place of employment of the said loader was at a distance of about 3 furlongs away from his residential quarters. On the above facts it was asserted that the said accident, in any view of the matter, did not arise out of and in course of his employment.

3. The Court below, on as appreciation of the evidence adduced before it, arrived at the finding that the loader did not sustain the fatal injury due to anything arising out of and in course of his employment, and so he was not entitled to get any compensation from his employer. On the evidence of P.W. 4, that when he went to the place of occurrence he found that the said electric wire was inside the fist of the loader and it was lying on his chest, the Court below found that he possibly attempted to cut the said wire and due to his own mistake he met with (lie said fatal accident.

4. It is urged by Mr. Misra, the learned Counsel for the appellant, that the deceased being an employee of the colliery had to stay in the house allotted to him in the colliery premises and, therefore, his stay inside the colliery premises was incidental to and connected with his employment in the said colliery and so the fatal accident sustained by him inside the colliery premises arose out of and in course of his employment. The contention advanced by Mr. Misra is no doubt ingenious, but I am not able to accept the same. Section 3 of the Workmen's Compensation Act provides that if personal injury is caused to a workman by accident arising out of and in course of his employment, his employer shall be liable to pay compensation in accordance with the provisions made in that Act. Therefore, in order to get compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act it must be shown that there was some proximate or at least fundamental connection between the accident and the employment, and if the primary causal connection between the accident and employment is absent, no liability can be foisted on the employer in a matter of this nature.

5. The evidence adduced by the respondent that the duty hour of the deceased in the colliery on that day was to commence at 3 p m. and that his place of work was 3 furlongs away from his house has not been assailed in any manner. So, on that evidence and on the claimant's own case that the deceased met with the said accident when he came out to light his coal oven in the backyard of his house, it cannot be said that the said accident arose out of and in course of his employment in the said colliery. Even if the claimant's own case is accepted, one cannot escape the conclusion that the deceased came out of his house and went near the said electric wire for his own household work, and it cannot be said by any interpretation that he came out of his house in course of his employment and sustained the injury in an accident arising out of his employment.

6. The expression 'accident arising out of and in course of his employment' in Section 3 of the Act has been dealt with in several decisions of different Courts. The authoritative observations? on this point made by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in paragraph 5 of their decision Mckinnon McKenzie & Co. Private Ltd. v. Ibrahim Mahommad Issak [1970-I L.L.J. 161] at p. 18, are quoted below :

To come within the Act the injury by accident must arise both out of and in the course of employment. The words 'in the course of the employment' mean ' in the course of the work which the workman is employed to do and which is incidental to if. The words ' arising out of employment' are umderstood to mean that 'during the course of the employment, injury has resulted from some risk incidental to the duties of the service, which, unless engaged in the duty owing to the master, it is reasonable to believe the workman would not otherwise have suffered', fn oilier words, there must be a causal relationship between the accident and the employment. The expression ' arising out of employment' is again not confined to the meie nature of the employment. The expression applies to employment us such to is nature, its conditions, its obligations and its incidents. If by reason of any of those factors the work man is brought within the one of special danger, the injury would be one which arises ' out of employment. To put it differently, if the accident had occurred on account of a risk which is an incident of the employment, the claim for compensation must succeed, unless, of course, the workman has exposed himself to an added peril by his own imprudent act. In Lancashire and yorkshire Rly. Co. v. Highley [1917] AC 352, Lord Sumner laid down the following test for determining whether an accident' arose out of the employment':

'There is, however, in my opinion, one test which is always at any rate applicable, because it arises upon the very words of the statute, and it is generally of some real assistance, ft is this; Was it part of the injured person's employment to hazard, to suffer, or to do that which caused his injury? If yes, the accident arose out of his employment. Ff nay, it did not, because, what it was not part of the employment to hard, to suffer, or to do, cannot well be the cause of an accident arising out of the employment. To ask if the cause of this was within the sphere of the employment or was one of the ordinary risks of the employment, or reasonably incidental to the employment, or conversely, was an added prey and outside the sphere of (he employment, arc all different ways of asking whether it was a part of his employment, that the workman should have acted as he was acting, or should have been in the position in which lie was, whereby in the course of that employment he sustained injury'.

7. The observations made in the above noted paragraphs very clearly explain tlu1 meaning and import of the expressions ' in course of employment '' and ' arising out of the employment'. Those expressions of course are not confined only to the period when his work man remained during his duty hours. The consensus of opinion now is that the employment does not always cease as soon as the employee's duty hours come to an end and he leaves the workshop where he is working. The meaning and import of the expression 'in course of his entry to and exit from the workshop in time and place and the means of his access to and his exit from the place of employment. In Saurashtra salt Manufacturing Co., v. Bai Valu raja : (1958)IILLJ249SC , their lordships observed;

As a rule the employment of a workman does not commence until lie has reached the place of employment and does not continue when he has left the place of employment, the journey to and from the place of employment being excluded. It is now well-settled, however, that this is subject to the theory of notional extension of the employer's premises so as to include an area which the workman passes and repasses in going to and in leaving the actual place of work. There may be some reasonable extension in both time and place and a workman may be regarded as in the course of his employment even though he had not reached or had left his employer's premises.

8. In the decision Employees' State Insurance Corporation, Trichur v. Sahara Beevi (1975) A.C.J. 501, the deceased was a workman under the Indian Rare Earths Ltd. (referred to as ' company'. He was coming to and to his work in the company in a bus authorised by the company for that purpose. On the way, not far from the company, that bus met with an accident, and the workman died as a consequence thereof. Under those circumstances, their Lordships of the Kerala High Court in the abovementioned decision observed that :.An employment may not or may begin not only when the employee begins to work or leaves his tools but also when he uses the means of access and goes to and from the place of employment. A contractual duty or obligation on the part of an employee to use only a particular means of transport extends the area of the field of employment to the course of the said transport.

As the workman died while he was coining in a public bus authorised by the company to attend to his duty in the company, their. Lordships held that the workman died in course of his employment and that the accident arose out of his employment. The facts and circumstances of each case have to be examined very carefully in order to determine the question as to when the employment began and when it ceased in a particular case, keeping in view the theory of notional extension stated in the above, mentioned Supreme Court case.

9. The Full Bench decision of the Allahabad High Court reported in Mst. Abida Khatoon v. General Manager, Diesel Locomotive Works, (1972) 42 FJR 454 (FB), cited by Mr. Misra does not support his contention in any manner. Justice K.N. Seth (who did not agree with the conclusion of Justice Satish Chandra in that case) in paragraph 63 (p. 474) of the said judgment observed that it is, however, not euoughthat the accident took place in the course of employment and it must be further established that it arose out of the employment. The words 'out of' and 'in course of the employment' are used conjunctively and not disjunctively. In paragraph 67 (p. 478) thereof, the said learned Judge observed that the mere fact that the workman was trapped to death by some unknown person while he was on his way to join his duty would not establish a nexus between the accident and employment. It may establish that he was done to death in course of his employment but it is difficult to hold that the accident arose out of the employment. He referred to the decision in Powell v. Great Western Railway Co. [1940]. All E.R. 87, wherein it has been held that in a case of this nature there should be a proximate connection between the accident and the employment of the deceased, and in the absence of any such connection compensation cannot be foisted on the employer. Justice M.N. Shukla, who also differed with the view taken by Justice Satish Chandra in the said case, has observed that unless some nexus can be established between an employment as such and the act of murder, the employer cannot be made liable to pay any compensation.

10. I do not find anything even in the minority view to support the contention of Mr. Misra.

11. In the present case before me there was no nexus or proximate or causal connection between the accident in question and the employment of the deceased workman. Even if the claimant's own case is accepted the deceased went near the electric wire in connection with his own house-hold work of lighting his coal oven and so his going to the place of the accident was not in anyway a part of or incidental to his employment. Moreover, the theory of notional extension of both the place and time cannot by any stretch of imagination reasonably bring this accident within its scope or purview.

12. On the facts and circumstances of this case and on the law on the subject as stated above, I am firmly of the view that the accident in which the deceased died did not arise out of and in course of his employment, and so the claimant is not entitled to get any compensation in this case. So the conclusion of the Court below is correct and justified.

13. There is, therefore, no merit in this appeal and it is accordingly dismissed, but in the circumstances there will be no order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //