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Labour Court does not have the authority to first determine a worker’s claim and then continue to compute the reward; Labour Court’s power is comparable to that of the Executing Court: Karnataka high court

The Labour Court committed a mistake when it assumed jurisdiction under ID Act section 33C(2). The award is susceptible to being overturned, is upheld by the High Court of Karnataka through the learned Judge JUSTICE K.S. MUDAGAL in the case of Management of KSRTC v. K. Shivaram (WP No. 17583/2017).

Brief facts of the case:

Respondent was employed as a driver for the petitioner. On 03/03/2004, the bus he was driving on the Bengaluru to Mangalore route was involved in an accident, and he sustained injuries. The medical board issued a certificate declaring that the respondent cannot perform his duties as a driver owing to the aforementioned injuries. The petitioner thus gave the respondent alternative light tasks. From March 2004 through October 2005, the petitioner considered the respondent to be on duty and paid full remuneration. The respondent did, in fact, file a claim for compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act, and he was given compensation with interest. The respondent filed a notice to the petitioner demanding compensation with interest under the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 on the basis that he incurred a work-related impairment. Then, he filed a claim suit with the Labor Court in Mangalore pursuant to Section 33C (2) of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, seeking compensation, interest, and Silver Medal Allowance. Without examining the petition’s maintainability under Section 33C (2) of the I.D. Act, the Labor Court granted the claim petition and awarded compensation as well as the silver medal reward. This was challenged by the current petition.

JUDGMNET:

The Court noted that Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Dispute Act applies to any payment owed to the employee. Section 33C(1) of the Industrial Dispute Act refers to any payment owed to a worker pursuant to a settlement or award under Chapter 5-A or 5-B of the Industrial Dispute Act. The respondent asserted that he was entitled to compensation for injuries sustained in the course of his job. Consequently, his claim fell under the 1923 Act. In this instance, the claim is brought before the Employee’s Compensation Commissioner, not the Labour Court. Due to the fact that the respondent did not fulfil the duties of a driver and was assigned lighter duties, his eligibility for silver medal allowance required adjudication. Consequently, this issue might have been the subject of a claim under the Industrial Dispute Act. In view of the Supreme Court’s decision, the respondent could not have continued the petition under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Dispute Act without such a ruling.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – HARILAKSHMI

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