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National Insurance Co. Ltd v/s Jonnalagadda Nancharamma & Others

    C.M.A. No. 1636 of 2008
    Decided On, 21 June 2022
    At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh
    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE TARLADA RAJASEKHAR RAO
    For the Appellant: N. Rama Krishna, Advocate. For the Respondents: C.H. Raghu Ram, Advocate.


Judgment Text
1. The present Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is filed aggrieved by the Order in W.C. Case No.90/2002 dated 27.11.2002 passed by the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation and Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Vijayawada, Krishna District.

2. The case of the Applicants/Respondent Nos.1 & 2 is that the deceased Sri Jonnalagadda Satyanarayana was employed by the Opposite Party. I as driver of the Lorry bearing No.AP-16-W-1807. The deceased had been on duty in the first week of October, 2000 on the above said truck. While, on the way of his return journey during the trip that had taken for a stretch of 30 to 40 days, he unexpectedly fell ill on 5.11.2000 as he could not get hygienic food, proper Medical aid and bed rest. The illness aggravated and due to such illness, his health did not permit him to drive the Vehicle. He gave the Vehicle to the helper for driving and the deceased had been to back seat for rest. Later he took his last breath in his sleep on 5.11.2000 at Siliguri, Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal. The deceased was incinerated on 8.11.2000 there itself after registering the case and conducting autopsy.

3. Heard both sides.

4. As per the contention of the Applicants/Respondent Nos.1 & 2, the deceased was aged about 45 years at the time of the accident and was being paid an amount of Rs. 2,400 per month as salary. The Applicants further stated that the Opposite Party-I is the Employer of the deceased and Owner of the Lorry bearing No.AP-16-W-1807. The said Lorry was insured with the Opposite Party-II. The Applicants claimed an amount of Rs. 2,00,000 as Compensation against Opposite Party-I and Opposite Party-II.

5. The Opposite Party-I, in her Counter Affidavit admitted the employment of the deceased as Driver of Lorry bearing No.AP-16-W-1807.

6. The Opposite Party-II in his Counter Affidavit denied all the material allegations made by the Applicants, who are the Respondent Nos.1 & 2 herein and contested the matter on the specific issue that the deceased died due to natural causes not in the course of the employment and there is no personal injury due to accident.

7. The Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation and Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Vijayawada has framed the following Issues:

(a) Whether the deceased Jonnalagadda Satyanarayana is a Workman under Section 2(1)(n) of the Workmen's Compensation Act? and whether the accident has arisen out of and in the course of the employment?

(b) What is the age and Wage of the deceased Workman?

(c) What is the amount of Compensation?

(d) Who are liable to pay Compensation to the dependents of the deceased?

8. The Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation after considering the evidence and the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in “Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co. Pvt. Ltd. v. Ritta Fernades”, 1969 ACJ 419 (SC) held that the deceased has died as a result of aggravation of his liver disease due to lack of hygienic food, rest and proper Medical care during his duty on truck bearing No.AP-16-W-1807, which is belongs to the Opposite Party-I during the trip to Gauhati. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that the deceased is a Workman under Section 2(1)(n) of the Workmen's Compensation Act and directed the Opposite Party-I and Opposite Party-II to pay Compensation of Rs. 2,65,348 (Rupees Two lakhs sixty five thousand three hundred and forty eight only) and the Commissioner has answered the issue in favour of the applicants/ Respondent Nos.1 & 2.

9. Aggrieved by the said Order in WC. Case No.90 of 2002, the Insurance Company, who is the Opposite Party-II in W.C. Case No.90 of 2002, has filed the present Civil Miscellaneous Appeal on the sole ground that the deceased had not died due to accident and his death is due to aggravated illness. Hence, there is no ground to state that the death of the deceased was not caused during employment.

10. As per the Judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in “Jyothi Ademma v. Plant Engineer”, 2006 (2) TN MAC 461 (SC): 2006 (3) KLT 426 SC, if the employment is a contributory cause or has accelerated the death, or if the death was due not only to the disease but also the disease coupled with the employment, then it can be said that the death arose out of the employment and the Employer would be liable.

11. Learned Counsel for the Respondent Nos.1 & 2 herein, who are the Applicants before the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation and Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Vijayawada, Krishna District, in support of his contention filed the Judgment of High Court of Judicature at Madras in C.M.A. No.2601 of 2008 i.e. “Management, Pachaimallai Estate, Valparai-642 127 v. H. Jayaline Ramola”, dated 9.1.2012, wherein it is held that the injury occurred due to the stress and strain from the work, hence, it can be held that the death was caused during the course of employment under Section 2(1)(n) of the Workmen Compensation Act, which has arisen out of and in the course of employment as required under Section 3 of the Workmen's Compensation Act.

12. In the present case, the deceased suffered from liver damage and jaundice. As per the evidence adduced he has been on duty as a Truck Driver, while, on the way of his return journey during the trip he unexpectedly fell ill on 5.11.2000 as he could not get hygienic food, proper Medical aid and bed rest. The illness aggravated and did not permit him to drive the Vehicle and he gave the Vehicle to the helper for driving and he had been to back seat for rest. He took his last breath in his sleep on 5.11.2000 at Siliguri, Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal. Due to lack of rest and proper Medical aid, the deceased died. The above principle laid down in the above said case, is applicable to the present facts of the case and it can be fully presumed that the deceased died due to contributory cause, as it has accelerated the death.

13. Learned Counsel for the Applicants/Respondent Nos.1 & 2 stated that the Appeal is not maintainable in view of Section 30 of the Workmen's Compensation Act as the Appellant has not raised any Substantial Question of Law. The sole ground raised in the present appeal by the Appellant/ Insurance Company is that the deceased was died due to natural causes not in the course of the employment. The said issue was dealt by the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation and Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Vijayawada, and held that the deceased was died during the course of employment relying on the

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Judgment of the Apex Court duly considering the evidence adduced on behalf of the Claimants, who are Respondent Nos.1 & 2 herein. The said issue cannot be treated as Substantial Question of Law as it is a question of fact, which was answered by the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation and Assistant Commissioner of Labour. Hence, the said issue cannot be treated as Substantial Question of Law under Section 30 of the Workmen's Compensation Act. 14. Relying on the above said Judgment, I found no reasons to interfere with the Order, dated 27.11.2002 passed in W.C. Case No.90 of 2002. 15. Accordingly, the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is dismissed. No Costs. Miscellaneous Petitions, if any stands cancelled.
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