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Gouri Kinkar Bhakat Vs. Radha Kissen Cotton Mills - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrail
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1933Cal220
AppellantGouri Kinkar Bhakat
RespondentRadha Kissen Cotton Mills
Cases ReferredPlumb v. Cobden Flour Mills Co.
Excerpt:
- .....machine and either putting a bobbin on a spindle or doing his proper work as a piecer to get his dhoti caught between the two rollers in the manner alleged. it is further said that at the time of the accident the applicant said both to the doctor and to the manager that he had got his arm crushed in a different way altogether, namely that he was trying to remove a torn spindle banding from the tin rollers while they were in motion. it was no part of the applicant's duty to interfere with the tin rollers. it is not contended that it was any part of his duty to take out any torn spindle banding from the tin rollers. the tin rollers were underneath the table altogether and the underneath part of the table was fenced off in the manner which has been described so that it would be necessary,.....
Judgment:

Rankin, C.J.

1. This is a workman's appeal against a decision of the Commissioner under the Workmen's Compensation Act rejecting a claim to compensation made on the ground that the applicant sustained an injury on 19th March 1930 while working in the spinning department of a cotton mill. The applicant's case is that he was a piecer, that his duty was to tie broken ends of cotton threads, that while he was standing by the machine and putting a bobbin on a spindle the bottom of his dhoti got caught between two rollers which were underneath the table of the machine and he says that the bottom of his dhoti having been caught between the two rollers was pulled in, that he put out his hand to try to pull it out and that in that way his hand got crushed. It seems that as a result of the injury his arm had to be amputated an inch or two below the shoulder. The employers make the case that it was quite impossible for a person standing by the machine and either putting a bobbin on a spindle or doing his proper work as a piecer to get his dhoti caught between the two rollers in the manner alleged. It is further said that at the time of the accident the applicant said both to the doctor and to the manager that he had got his arm crushed in a different way altogether, namely that he was trying to remove a torn spindle banding from the tin rollers while they were in motion. It was no part of the applicant's duty to interfere with the tin rollers. It is not contended that it was any part of his duty to take out any torn spindle banding from the tin rollers. The tin rollers were underneath the table altogether and the underneath part of the table was fenced off in the manner which has been described so that it would be necessary, to get one's hand into the tin roller to stoop down and reach out underneath the table.

2. The learned Commissioner had several witnesses called before him for the applicant. There is the applicant's own evidence as to his dhoti being caught by a roller. There were fellow workers with him who came and said that they saw his dhoti caught in the roller. But some of the corroborative witnesses appear to have been of a very poor quality and some of them also do not profess to have seen the actual commencement of the accident. Against that there was the evidence of the doctor and the evidence of the manager, and the learned Commissioner on two occasions examined the machine very carefully for himself. He has come to the conclusion-and from his description of the machine it is evidently very clear-that the story that the dhoti got caught between the rollers when he was standing by the machine attending to his duties is entirely impossible and must be disbelieved altogether, it not being possible for the dhoti to have got caught in that way. That is a finding of fact based upon his own examination of the machine, but it can be seen by this Court to be very well based indeed by reason of the description of the machine given by the Commissioner. That being so the Commissioner says:

I do not believe that the accident happened through the applicant's dhoti being drawn into the machine. His case that it arose out of his employment is based upon this and I see no other way in which it could have arisen out of his employment, though it might very easily have happened as stated by the opposite party.

3. Now, one way to deal with a case of this character would be for the learned Commissioner to state his findings as to what the applicant's employment or duties were-what he was engaged to do; and then to go on to state his finding as to how the accident, in fact, happened. The learned Commissioner's judgment has given a good deal of trouble by reason that it does not follow this course. It does not state properly what the duties of the applicant were. It is not expressly stated whether the Commissioner was satisfied that rules were made or orders given that these piecers were not to meddle with the machinery while in motion. As, however, that is admitted by the applicant in his evidence, it does not very much matter. It is much to be wished however that the Commissioner had come to some more specific findings of fact as to how the accident happened. If the story as to the dhoti being caught is disbelieved, the applicant is found to be basing his case upon a false story. In that case one asks oneself why should not the evidence of the doctor and the manager be believed? It does not appear to me that the statement 'though it might very easily have happened as stated by the opposite party' is a sufficient statement in the circumstances. The difficulty in dealing with the question whether the accident arose out of his employment without finding how the accident arose and going carefully into the limitations that had been put on the duties of the applicant is very considerable. In one case, for example, Mrs. Margaret Thorn, or Simpson v. Sinclair (1917) AC 127, (though it was not a case quite of the present character) it was said by Lord Shaw of Dunfermline:

I think that the statute is not satisfied by asking the question as to whether the nature of the employment of the injured person had any causal relation to the accident, because it is clear that in very many instances the accident arose out of the employment as such, apart from the particular nature of the service which the injured workman had to render;

and in another passage the same learned Lord says:

My view of the statute is that the expression 'arising out of the employment' is not confined to 'the mere nature of the employment.' The expression, in my opinion, applies to the employment as such to its nature, its conditions, its obligations and its incidents. If by reason of any of these the workman is brought within the zone of special danger and so injured or killed, it appears to me that the broad words of the statute 'arising out of the employment' apply. If the peril which he encountered was not an added peril produced by the workman himself, as in the cases of Plumb v. Cobden Flour Mills Co. (1914) AC 62 and Barnes v. Nunnery Colliery Co. (1912) AC 44 in this House then a case for compensation under the statute appears to arise.

4. I cannot say therefore that I am at all satisfied with the observation 'I see no other way in which it could have arisen out of his employment' and if the question before us was a question to be decided merely by criticizm of the learned Commissioner's judgment there would be a great deal to be said for the applicant. We have however to consider this case as a whole. If a substantial question of law arises we are entitled to do so on points of fact as well as on points of law. From this standpoint it appears to me plain enough that this is one of those cases where it is shown that the injuries arose to the applicant by reason of what has been described in the language I have just quoted as 'an added peril produced by the workman himself.' Similar cases may be found in the books. The case to which reference was made in the case cited is the case of Plumb v. Cobden Flour Mills Co. (1914) AC 62; and the principle that has often been laid down may be stated in the language of Lord Dunedin (quoting and adopting Lord Loreburn) thus:

Nor can you deny him compensation on the ground only that he was injured through breaking rules. But if the thing he does imprudently or disobediently is different in kind from anything he was required or expected to do and also is put outside the range of his service by a genuine prohibition, then I should say that the accidental injury did not arise out of his employment.

5. Without entering into any question whether this boy was guilty of such wilful conduct as is mentioned in Section 3, Sub-section 1(b), Workmen's Compensation Act of 1923, I am satisfied that the duties of a piecer do not include anything which requires his getting down underneath the table and interfering with the tin rollers while they are in motion. According to the applicant's own statement of his duties they do not include anything of the kind. His own version of his duty is that he has to join ends of threads when the machine is in motion; and the underneath part of the table is fenced to keep him out. Therefore his story as to the dhoti being caught while he was merely standing by the machine being found to be impossible, the applicant is, in the particular circumstances of this case, under the very strongest suspicion of having been doing something underneath the table which he desires to conceal because it was altogether outside his function. I see no reason at all why the evidence of the doctor or the manager as to what the lad was doing should not be accepted. I do not know why the learned Commissioner has not said that he would accept it or does not give some reason for not accepting it. In my judgment it is proved on the facts of this case that the injury was occasioned by an added peril which the lad brought about by interfering unnecessarily with a fenced-off part of the machine while it was working. In these circumstances the appeal fails and must be dismissed with costs. Hearing-fee two gold mohurs.

C.C. Ghose, J.

6. I agree.


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