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Ramanlal Madanlal Vs. Sm. Binapani Debi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberA.F.O.O. No. 214 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1963Cal479
ActsWorkmen's Compensation Act, 1923 - Sections 2(1) and 22(2); ;Workmen's Compensation Rules, 1924 - Rules 19 and 41
AppellantRamanlal Madanlal
RespondentSm. Binapani Debi
Appellant AdvocatePhanindra Kumar Sanyal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAnil Kumar Sinha, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredDal and Oil Mill v. Amritia. This
Excerpt:
- .....rs. 1800/-.3. mr. sanyal appearing for the appellant ramanlal madanlal urged two points. one was a point of procedure and the other was a point of fact. neither of these two points has any substance or merit. his first point is that the rules of procedure under the workmen's compensation act do not provide for a claim being made against a firm as such and therefore there was no proper application for compensation. he relied on an unreported decision of this court delivered by trevor harries, c. j. and banerjee, j. in a. f. o. o. no. 20 of 1951 decided on the 6th april, 1951. that decision. i find, has been doubted by another division bench of chakravartti, c. j. and s. r. das gupta, j. in a. f. o. o. no. 127 of 1951 in sree ganesh ata, dal and oil mill v. amritia. this decision is also.....
Judgment:

P.B. Mukharji, J.

1. This is an appeal under the Workmen's Compensation Act. The claimant is the mother of the deceased workman. He died from personal injuries received in an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment on the 29th May, 1955.

2. The Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation found as a fact that the workman was employed by Messrs. Ramanlal Madanlal -- partners, Ramanlal Madanlal, the opposite party and that the deceased met with the accident arising out of and in the course of the employment. He negatived the contention raised before me that opposite party No. 2 Messrs. G. C. Das and Co. who was not served was the person really responsible for the employment of the deceased. The Commissioner's award was a direction and order upon Ramanlal Madanlal to pay to the claimant Rs. 1800/-.

3. Mr. Sanyal appearing for the appellant Ramanlal Madanlal urged two points. One was a point of procedure and the other was a point of fact. Neither of these two points has any substance or merit. His first point is that the rules of procedure under the Workmen's Compensation Act do not provide for a claim being made against a firm as such and therefore there was no proper application for compensation. He relied on an unreported decision of this Court delivered by Trevor Harries, C. J. and Banerjee, J. in A. F. O. O. No. 20 of 1951 decided on the 6th April, 1951. That decision. I find, has been doubted by another Division Bench of Chakravartti, C. J. and S. R. Das Gupta, J. in A. F. O. O. No. 127 of 1951 in Sree Ganesh Ata, Dal and Oil Mill v. Amritia. This decision is also unreported.

4. The rules of procedure relevant for the purposes to dispose of this point are contained in Part V of the Workmen's Compensation Rules, 1924 framed in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 32 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923. Rule 19 provides:

'Save as otherwise provided in these Rules, the procedure to be followed by Commissioners in the disposal of cases under the Act or these rules and by the parties in such cases shall be regulated in accordance with the rules contained in this Part.'

5. Now there are no express provisions in these rules to show how an application against a firm should be framed. The rules are silent on that point. Rule 41 mentions that certain provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure are to apply except in cases otherwise expressly provided in the Act or in the rules. Such provisions are those contained in Order V, rules 9 to 13 and 15 to 30; Order IX; Order 13, Rules 3 to 10; Order 16, Rules 2 to 21; Order XVII; and Order XXIII, Rules 1 and 2 of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure. These provisions do not say how an application is to be made against a firm. It is Mr. Sanyal's contention that as the application is against an employer in this case and which employer is a firm, all the 12 partners mentioned in the Partnership deed should have been joined as opposite parties and not merely two of the partners as shown in the cause title of this application.

6. This point of Mr. Sanyal can be disposed of briefly on the following grounds. The definition of an employer under Section 2(1)(e) includes any body of persons whether incorporated or not. Therefore, a firm can be an employer. The Act does not say how the firm is to be described in the applica-tion for compensation. For that purpose the Workmen's Compensation Rules, when examined, show, as indicated in Rules 19 and 41 that they do not contain any prohibition to the effect that an ap-plication for compensation against a firm could not be made against the firm by name but by individual partners composing that firm. Mr. Sanyal's point is that a firm is not a legal entity and therefore cannot be described as such and he invokes the provisions of Order XXX of the Civil Procedure Code and says that this provision has not been made applicable under Rule 41 of the Workmen's Compensation Rules. If the Act is intended to give relief to the workman as against the employer that relief must be given by the Court even if there have been no rules. If the rules contain, no prohibition it is not necessary to seek an express permission under the rules allowing application to be made against a partnership in its firm's name. If necessary we would construe the provisos (a) and (b) of Rule 41 of the Workmen's Compensation Rules to find that permission. Proviso (a) of Rule 41 says that for the purpose of facilitating the application of the said provisions the Commissioner may construe them with such alteration not affecting the substance as may be necessary or proper to adapt them to the matter before him, and proviso (b) says that the Commissioner may, for sufficient reason, proceed otherwise than in accordance with the said provisions, if he is satisfied that the interests of the parties will not thereby be prejudiced. The Workmen's Compensation Act and the procedure thereunder afre intended to bring prompt, quick, speedy and efficient relief to the workman who cannot in most cases wait for the long drawn out and sluggish method of procedure of suits under the Civil Procedure Code. It is, therefore, that the Commissioner is given the power to adjust these rules to suit the interest of the parties without of course causing prejudice to the parties or any of them. This flexibility of the procedure is essential for the smooth working and efficacy of compensation relief under the Work-men's Compensation Act. No narrow and technical concepts of orthodox jurisprudence pertaining to suits and their regular trials should be allowed to clog such flexibility of procedure indicated in provisos (a) and (b) of Rule 41 of the Workmen's Compensation Rules. A point was made by Mr. Sanyal that what provisos (a) and (b) refer to is adjustment only in respect of the specific provisions made in the Civil Procedure Code mentioned in the substantive part of Rule 41. While that may be said about proviso (a) it cannot, in our view, be said about proviso (b) which gives the Commissioner a much larger latitude in the matter of such procedure. Then again, this point on which Mr. Sanyal emphasised so much was not taken before the Commissioner. If he did take it then the application could have been corrected then and there and the Commissioner might have also recorded his reasons of satisfaction why in the interests of the parties it was not necessary in the facts of this case to bring in all the 12 partners of the firm by name in the cause title of the application for compensation. Lastly, the point is without any merit because two of the partners are also mentioned by name below the firm's name so that no question of any prejudice can arise on the facts of this case. Either the two partners represent the firm or they do not. If they do not then the persons to object woujd be the objecting partners --but they have not so objected. The named partners in the cause title have already deposited the money with the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation. Therefore, no question of prejudice can ever arise on the facts of this appeal. We cannot, therefore, permit this technicality to override a meritorious claim.

7. The second point Mr. Sanyal tried to urge was that the deceased died as an employee of the other opposite party Messrs. G. C. Das and Co. and that the partnership business of the appellant was ordinarily for purchase and sale of disposal articles, machinery, implements etc. In other words, Mr. Sanyal tries to raise a question of fact that the deceased workman was employed by G. C. Das and Co. and he died in the course of doing the work of G. C. Das and Co. As a point of fact this has been found against him by the Commissioner. We do not consider it proper on the facts of this case that this question of fact should be re-opened by us in the appeal when we find that there is evidence to support and justify the finding of the Commissioner.

8. For these reasons the appeal is dismissed with costs.

Law, J.

9. I agree.


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