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The Pollachi Transport, Ltd., by General Manager Mr. G.D. Naidu Vs. Arumuga Kounder - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938Mad485; (1938)1MLJ864
AppellantThe Pollachi Transport, Ltd., by General Manager Mr. G.D. Naidu
RespondentArumuga Kounder
Cases ReferredSee Nanda Kumar v. Pramatha Nath
Excerpt:
- - that the commissioner may admit and decide any claim to compensation in any case notwithstanding that the notice has not been given or the claim has not been instituted, in due time as provided in this sub-section, if he is satisfied that the failure to so give the notice or institute the claim, as the case may be, was due to sufficient cause......of limitation, his point is that while the accident took place on the 13th march, 1935, the claim to compensation was instituted on the 12th december, 1935 and notice of compensation was given only on the 6th november, 1935. it is true that under section 10(1) of the act, notice of the accident must be given as soon as practicable and the claim must be instituted within six months of the occurrence of the accident. but there is a proviso which provides:that the commissioner may admit and decide any claim to compensation in any case notwithstanding that the notice has not been given or the claim has not been instituted, in due time as provided in this sub-section, if he is satisfied that the failure to so give the notice or institute the claim, as the case may be, was due to.....
Judgment:

Venkataramana Rao, J.

1. This appeal is under Section 30 of the Workmen's Compensation Act against an order granting compensation to the respondent for an injury he suffered while he was doing the duties of a conductor in a vehicle belonging to the appellant-company which plied from. Palghat to Pattanheri on the 13th March, 1935.

2. So far as the amount of the award is concerned, it has not been challenged before us. Two points were argued before us by Mr. V. Ramaswami Aiyar, the learned Counsel on behalf of the appellant-company. One is the question of limitation and the other is that the respondent is not a 'workman' within the meaning of the Workmen's Compensation Act. In regard to the question of limitation, his point is that while the accident took place on the 13th March, 1935, the claim to compensation was instituted on the 12th December, 1935 and notice of compensation was given only on the 6th November, 1935. It is true that under Section 10(1) of the Act, notice of the accident must be given as soon as practicable and the claim must be instituted within six months of the occurrence of the accident. But there is a proviso which provides:

That the Commissioner may admit and decide any claim to compensation in any case notwithstanding that the notice has not been given or the claim has not been instituted, in due time as provided in this sub-section, if he is satisfied that the failure to so give the notice or institute the claim, as the case may be, was due to sufficient cause.

3. The learned Commissioner has taken the fact of the man's illness, his being a complete wreck after his discharge from the hospital and' all other circumstances into consideration in coming to the conclusion that there was sufficient cause which enabled him to exercise the discretion which is conferred on him under the proviso and he did not see any reason to disallow the claim. We see no reason to differ from his conclusions on this part of the case. We, therefore, overrule the plea of limitation.

4. The second contention is that having regard to the definition of Section 2(1) of the Act taken in conjunction with Schedule II, Clause (1), the respondent is not a 'workman' because he could not be said to be a person connected with the operation or maintenance of a mechanically propelled vehicle. We are not inclined to agree with this contention either. The word 'operation' in Clause (1) of Schedule II means the working of the vehicle. So far as the duties of a conductor in this case are concerned, there is evidence that his duties are not only to issue tickets, to collect fares, sign time sheets at Police Stations but also, as admitted by D.W. 1, to look after the convenience of the passengers, their luggage and generally do all that is prescribed in the Motor Vehicles Rules. Apart from any question of evidence, the duty of a conductor is not merely to sit in the car and issue tickets but he has to see to the safety of the passengers in getting in and getting out, to the starting of the car and the stopping of the car at convenient places and co-operate with the driver in the proper running of the car throughout the journey. In our opinion, he is therefore as much concerned with the operation of the mechanically propelled vehicle as the driver is within the meaning of that clause. The question whether the conductor of an omnibus is 'workman' within the meaning of the Act was recently considered by a Bench of the Calcutta High Court and they have taken the same view as we have taken. See Nanda Kumar v. Pramatha Nath (1937) C.W.N 42 . As observed in that case, the presence of a conductor is not only desirable but is really necessary and is indeed obligatory for the purpose of the proper working of the bus. We are therefore of the opinion that the respondent is a 'workman' within the meaning of the Act.

5. In the result, the appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.


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