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Just Because Death Under Employment Was Not Because Of Accident It Doesn’t Exempt One From Compensating The Deceased: High Court Of Kerala

Citation: MFA (ECC) No.136 of 2018

Decided On: 28TH DAY OF OCTOBER 2023

Coram: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE P.G. AJITHKUMAR

Introduction:

This appeal is an appeal under Section 30 of the Employees Compensation Act, 1923. The appellants through the appeal assail the order of Employees Compensation Commissioner. The appellants are the widow and daughter of Sri.Vasu who died on 01.02.2006 due to an accident.

Facts:

The deceased husband of the appellant was driving taxi car bearing Registration No.KEH 9783 along the Swaraj Round, Thrissur on the said date. At about 12.15 p.m he felt chest pain and collapsed resulting in the car dashing against an electric post. He was rushed to the Aswini hospital, Thissur, but he succumbed to the injuries. The doctor who examined him informed that Sri.Vasu died due to heart attack.

The appellants filed a claim petition before the Employees Compensation Commissioner under the Employees Compensation Act claiming compensation from the 1st respondent, who is the owner of the vehicle and the 2nd respondent, the insurer. The 1st respondent did not chose to contest the matter. The 2nd respondent resisted the claim on several grounds. It was contended that the 1st respondent was not the owner having transferred the vehicle in favour of Sri.Vasu as early as on 17.03.2004. The further contention of the 2nd respondent was that the death was due to heart attack and not on account of an accident arising out of and in the course of the employment.

The appellant failed to discharge their initial burden that the death of Sri.Vasu was the result of an accident and in the course of his employment. In the light of that finding, other issues were not answered and the application was dismissed.

Court’s Analysis and Judgement:

The Apex Court in Param Pal Singh v. National Insurance Co. Ltd and another [2013 ACJ 526] considered a similar question. In the above case, it has come out that the deceased was driving cars for about 40 years. He was aged 60 years at the time of death. A person involved in the avocation of driving for such a long period suffered a heart attack while he was driving the car. The heart attack he suffered while driving had resulted in the accident of his car hitting an electric post. The proximate reason for the death may be heart attack. But, had he not suffered a heart attack, such an accident would not have happened. The view taken by the Apex court is that the employer was liable to compensate even if the deceased was not actually driving the truck. When in the course of his driving, he felt discomfort and later, in the hospital, he died due to heart disease, he being a driver for long years subjected to its stress and strain, the death would amount an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment.

Accordingly, the order of the Employees Compensation Commissioner, Thrissur, dated 25.01.2018 in E.C.C No.405 of 2016 is set aside by holding that the appellants are entitled to claim compensation on account of the death of Sri.Vasu in the accident occurred on 01.02.2006

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Written by- Sushant Kumar Sharma

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It is well established by law that an employer has the sole authority to decide whether to keep a position or not.– Punjab high court

TITLE: Manoj Kumar Verma v Management Board of Ansal Institute of Technology  

Decided On-:01.05.2023

CWP No. 27944 of 2013

CORAM: Hon’ble Justice Mr. Jaishree Thakur

INTRODUCTION- The accused/appellant was found guilty and sentenced to two and a half years of rigorous imprisonment for violating Section 17(b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (the “NDPS Act”). The present appeal is directed against the judgement of conviction dated April 27, 2005, and order of sentence dated April 29, 2005, passed by the learned Special Judge, Rohtak. The sentences were set to run simultaneously.

FACTS OF THE CASE

The petitioner was hired by Ansal Institute of Technology, respondent No. 2 in this case (now merged with Sushant School of Architecture with effect from 2012 and renamed as Ansal University, impleaded as respondent No. 3), where his services were confirmed with effect from July 1, 2007, as Senior Lecturer-Mass Communications. Up until 01.02.2011, he continued to work for the Institute and was given additional duties as the course coordinator for the Post Graduate Diploma in Retail Management (PGDRM). He received a promotion to Assistant Professor in the School of Management on January 1, 2009. The petitioner received an increase based on his performance and annual evaluation on August 17, 2009, and another increase on December 27, 2010. On 08.02.2011, the petitioner was promoted to Assistant Dean (Marketing), receiving a monthly honorarium increase to Rs. 5,000 as of that date. On October 7, 2011, the petitioner left his job because he had jaundice and was supposed to stay in bed. He sent respondent No. 2 an email to properly inform him.When he returned to work on November 8, 2011, respondent No. 2 requested that he hand over his laptop and leave his cubicle. For the months of October 2011 to March 2012, his salary was withheld and paid later. The petitioner’s employment was terminated on March 19, 2012, due to a low student enrollment in the subject taught.

COURT ANALYSIS AND DECISION

The petitioner’s knowledgeable attorney will argue that the decision to terminate his employment is unlawful because Ansal University’s administration advertised the assistant professor position in management he was holding less than a month after his employment was terminated. The petitioner was qualified to teach for the position that had been advertised, it is argued. It was further argued that the respondent abolished the position in order to fire the petitioner from his or her position

Contrarily, knowledgeable counsel representing the respondents would contend that the petitioner in this case was appointed to the position of Senior Lecturer-Mass Communication with the Ansal Institute of Technology, Gurgaon, and that it was because of the post’s elimination that he was asserting that his services were terminated in accordance with the Institute’s Service Rules. The creation and administration of AIT were handled by the Chiranjiv Charitable Trust (abbreviated CCT), which was authorised by the Societies Registration Act. The Management Body of the respondent was permitted by Rule 20.2 of AIT to terminate the employment of any regular member of the staff, academic or non-academic, without cause or prior notice after giving one month’s notice or by paying one month’s salary in lieu of notice. The petitioner received a month’s notice before the services would end. The Institute had tried to accommodate him in another programme, the Post Graduate Diploma in Retail Management (PGDRM), but that programme has also been discontinued due to a low student intake, and since the subject was not being taught, his services were no longer needed. This was made clear in the notice that the programme under which the appointment had been made had been closed at the Institute. According to the aforementioned Section, the Board of Management has the authority to fire a teacher or other academic staff member for misconduct. According to Section 22(3) and (4) of the Act of 1988, the Board of Management is not permitted to fire a teacher, a member of the academic staff, or any other employee unless there is a justifiable reason for doing so and after giving the person concerned three months’ notice, with the additional condition that the person concerned be given a reasonable opportunity to object to the proposed action. “In case the petitioner seeks arrears of salary, the respondents would be at liberty to seek information on whether the petitioner had been gainfully employed during the pendency of these proceedings and take an appropriate decision. The entire exercise regarding entitlement of arrears of salary be completed expeditiously, preferably within a period of three months on the demand being made. Petition stands allowed accordingly”.

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Written by-  Steffi Desousa

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