If there is no indication of Previous Disease, then the sudden death shall be treated as Stress Of Work during the course of employment: Andhra Pradesh High Court

The Andhra Pradesh HC in the case of National Insurance co ltd v. Sambireddy Yenkataramana (C.M.A.No.864 of 2008) decided through the learned bench led by Justice Tarlada Rajasekhar Rao, the HC dismissed an appeal filed by the insurance company stating that the compensation provided to the relatives of the deceased by Commissioner is not justified as the deceased did not die during or due to the course of employment. Answering to the appellant the court said that the Act shall be interpreted in a liberal way, meaning to keep the beneficial nature in mind, and hence it was held that any sudden death shall be treated as stress and strain of the work when there is no indication about the previous disease.

Facts of the case: An appeal was filed against an order passed by the Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation and Assistant Commissioner of Labour. In this case, the respondent filed an application before the commissioner and claimed 400000 for their deceased relative who works as a driver for opposite party 1 and was insured by opposite party 2 i.e. the insurance company. It was seen that the opposite party 1 agreed and admitted the employment of the deceased as a driver for a school van but the opposite party 2 filed a counter affidavit denying the claim as according to them the death did not occur during the course of employment.

A throw examination by a doctor proved that the deceased died due to heart failure after which he fell down right onto the steering wheel and the bus had to be stopped, therefore considering all the evidence the assistant commissioner awarded 3,03,509 rupees to the deceased relatives. Later the insurance company filed an appeal stating that the deceased did not die due to an accident and the reason was heart failure hence it is not a course of employment as one cannot prove conclusively that it is due to stress and strain of the work, hence no compensation shall be provided. The insurance company relied on a judgment passed by the apex court stating that the medical records and doctors’ opinions would be relevant in making the conclusion as to whether a person died due to an accident or not.

Judgment: The court said that there was no doubt regarding the fact that the deceased died in the bus while driving it and adding to the fact the court said that driving a school bus is definitely a strenuous job. The evidence clearly shows that the deceased had no history of cardiac disease and hence if there is no previous disease and sudden death, it can definitely be considered to be caused by stress and strain. After a throw investigation, it was clear that the deceased never showed any signs of ill health and so his death shall be treated as during the course of employment. And hence his legal heirs are entitled to compensation.

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