Employees Compensation Act: Appeal Against Award Passed -15th Nov,21
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Employees Compensation Act – Appeal Against Award Passed By Compensation Commissioner Only Maintainable On Substantial Question Of Law U/s 30: Supreme Court

By – Shruti Kakkar Update: 2021-11-13 15:21 GMT

The Supreme Court has observed that an appeal against the award passed by Compensation Commissioner is maintainable only on a substantial question of law in terms of section 30 of the Employees Compensation Act, 1923.

The bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian in the present matter was considering an appeal challenging Madras High Court’s order dated April 25, 2013.

As per the High Court’s order, the first respondent’s appeal (“Mustafa”) was accepted on the ground that the Compensation Commissioner at Trichirapalli had no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint as it was the Compensation Commissioner at Cuddalore, who had the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

While restoring the Compensation Commissioner’s award, the bench observed that,

“We find that the High Court should not have interfered in an appeal filed against the award of the Compensation Commissioner dealing with the injury of amputation of leg suffered by the appellant during the course of employment. The High Court should have the heart to alleviate the loss suffered by the appellant but the order passed by the High Court shows total non-application of mind without any compassion to set aside an award of a grant of compensation on account of loss of a limb on the wholly untenable ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction.”

The Top Court also directed the respondent to pay an amount of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh) to the appellant as Costs, for depriving him the compensation for the last more than 20 years within a period of two months from the date of the order (November 8, 2021).

Factual Background

The appellant (“Mayan”) who was working as a worker in the respondent’s agricultural farm had lost his right leg which got stuck in a Harvesting Machine during the course of employment on March 5, 2001. The Compensation Commissioner had awarded a sum of Rs. 1,21,997/- with 12% interest.

Supreme Court’s Analysis

Taking into consideration that ​​the appellant was a resident of Sriram Nagar which was within the jurisdiction of Trichirapalli, the bench said that, “even legally the jurisdiction was that of Compensation Commissioner under Section 21(1)(b) of the Employees Compensation Act, 1923.”

“Unfortunately, the High Court interfered with the award on the ground of territorial jurisdiction on the make-belief stand that the injured has not pleaded in his claim petition that he was residing within the jurisdiction of the Compensation Commissioner, Trichirapalli,” the Court further noted in its order.

Case Title: Mayan v Mustafa and Anr| Civil Appeal No. 6614 Of 2021

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