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ikkassintakath Abdurahiman and anr. Vs. Nadakkavu Malikkal Beeran Koya - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938Mad402; 173Ind.Cas.424; (1938)1MLJ571
Appellantikkassintakath Abdurahiman and anr.
RespondentNadakkavu Malikkal Beeran Koya
Excerpt:
- .....of securing the benefit which the workmen's compensation act is intended to provide for the workman or the dependents of the workman. this part of the section has therefore no application to the present case. the other part of the section in section 9 is that no lump sum or half-yearly payment shall pass to any person other than the workman. this contemplates that the compensation is payable to a workman and cannot be claimed by any person by operation of law. therefore, before that clause can come into operation, there must be an existing workman to whom it is payable and it has no application to a case where the workman died before the award of compensation. in the case of a workman who is alive and to whom the compensation is payable, the act says that it must be paid to him.....
Judgment:

Venkataramana Rao, J.

1. This is a reference under Section 27 of the Workmen's Compensation Act (VIII of 1923) made by the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation in the following circumstances. A workman by name Saban employed under the respondent died in or about July, 1934. A claim for compensation was preferred by his mother Pathumma under the Act. A question was raised whether the employer was liable to pay compensation to her. The matter was carried to the High Court and by an order dated 1st September, 1936, it was decided by Burn, J., and Lakshmana Rao, J., that the employer was liable to pay compensation to the said Pathumma. Thereupon the Commissioner by his order dated the 26th September, 1936, decided that the only dependent of the deceased workman was the applicant Pathumma and he therefore allotted the entire compensation to her. The entire compensation referred to was a lump sum of Rs. 552 paid by the employer in pursuance of Section 8 of the Workmen's Compensation Act. The Act obliges every employer who is liable to pay compensation to deposit the amount which he is liable to pay under the Act with the Commissioner, in order that he may get full satisfaction of the claim. On such deposit being made, the Commissioner has to find out who the dependents are so that he may effect a distribution among them. Under Clause 7 of Section 8, if the dependent happens to be a woman or a person under a legal disability, the Commissioner is enjoined to invest the compensation money for the benefit of the woman or of such person during his disability. It is therefore clear that once an allotment of compensation to a dependent or a distribution of compensation money among several dependents is made, the compensation so allotted or distributed becomes the property of the dependent and if the dependent dies, the said sum being his property will devolve on his or her heirs. The Commissioner in pursuance of Clause 7 of Section 8 of the Act directed an immediate payment of Rs. 50 out of the said sum of Rs. 552 to Pathumma and ordered that the balance be invested on her behalf in the Post Office Savings Bank and paid to her at the rate of Rs. 21 a quarter in advance beginning from October, 1936. Before she could receive any sum, the said Pathumma died and an application was put in by her sons who are admittedly her legal heirs claiming the said amount. This claim was resisted by the employer (the respondent) who contended that as Pathumma died the compensation money was liable to be refunded to him. The Commissioner was inclined to the view that by operation of Clause 4 of Section 8 and Section 9, the amount is liable to be refunded to the employer, but however as he was not quite sure about that view, he has made this reference under Section 27 of the Act.

2. It seems to us that the view of the Commissioner is not sound. Under Clause 4 of Section 8 the right of the employer to get a refund only arises when a workman dies without any dependent and the Commissioner at the time of the distribution knows that he has left no dependent within the meaning of the Act. But if the workman leaves a dependent and the claim of that dependent is recognised by the Commissioner as the person entitled to receive the compensation, any claim on the part of the employer for a refund can no longer arise under that clause. Section 9 also has no bearing on the facts of this particular case. The first part of that section provides that no lump sum or half-monthly payment payable under the Act is capable of being alienated or subjected to attachment. This is for the purpose of securing the benefit which the Workmen's Compensation Act is intended to provide for the workman or the dependents of the workman. This part of the section has therefore no application to the present case. The other part of the section in Section 9 is that no lump sum or half-yearly payment shall pass to any person other than the workman. This contemplates that the compensation is payable to a workman and cannot be claimed by any person by operation of law. Therefore, before that clause can come into operation, there must be an existing workman to whom it is payable and it has no application to a case where the workman died before the award of compensation. In the case of a workman who is alive and to whom the compensation is payable, the Act says that it must be paid to him and it should not go to any other person; for example, if he becomes an insolvent, his trustee in bankruptcy cannot claim the sum for the benefit of his creditors. This section therefore has no application to this case where the property has been allotted to Pathumma, the mother of the workman, who is a dependent under the Act. It has become her property; it has been recognised to be her property by the said compensation money being invested in the Post Office Savings Bank by the order dated 26th September, 1936.

3. We are therefore of the opinion that the sons of Pathumma are entitled to be paid the amount due and payable under the order dated 26th September, 1936 and we answer the reference accordingly. We see no reason to make any order as to costs.


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