Learned counsel for the Appellant submitted that, the Joint Commissioner of Labour-II, Chennai, ought to have taken the loss of earning capacity of the injured claimant, as 100% instead of 50%.
2. Though, the said point is not raised in the Substantial Questions of Law framed by the Appellant, learned counsel for the Appellant has mentioned the same in paragraph 7 of the Grounds.
3. Heard the learned counsel for the Appellants and perused the material documents available on record. This Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is admitted on the following Substantial Questions of Law:
(i) Whether the Joint Commissioner of Labour-II, Chennai, is justified in fixing the earning capacity of the injured claimant, who was a Driver, at 50% instead of fixing the same at 100% ?
(ii) Whether the Joint Commissioner of Labour-II, Chennai, is right in not imposing penalty in addition to the amount of arrears and interest under Section 4(A)(b) of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923?4. With regard to the first Substantial Question of Law framed by the learned counsel for the Appellant in paragraph 11 of the Grounds, that “Whether the Joint Commissioner of Labour-II, Chennai, is right in fixing the monthly wages of the injured as Rs.8,000/-, when Explanation II of Section 4 of Workmen's Compensation Act was omitted as per Employees Compensation Act, 1923”, this Court has already taken note of the Notification of the Government in GO.(2D) J.No.91, dated 12.12.2013 issued under the Minimum Wages Act, wherein, it is stated that, in case, monthly wages of a person exceeds Rs.8,000/-, compensation would be determined as if, the monthly wages is only Rs.8,000/- and not above. Hence, the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is rejected insofar as the said Question of Law is concerned.
5. Issue Notice to the Respondents returnable by 10.02.2020. List the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal for hearing on 10.02.2020.
6. Registry is directed to communicate this order to the parties while sending notice on the CMA.
7. The demand that the wages should be taken as Rs.12,000/- per month is rejected and for any enhancement of the amount mentioned in Explanation II of Section 4 (b) of Workmen's Compensation Act, legislative amendment is required. That was the reason why the same was deleted and the Act 45 of 2009 dated 18.01.2010 was introduced by inserting Section 4(1-B), whereby it was decided to enhance the amount by means of notification in the Official Gazette, which requires no legislative amendment. The Explanation-II, which was prevalent prior to its deletion reads as under:
“Where the monthly wages of a Workman exceed four thousand rupees, his monthly wages for the purposes of clause (a) and clause (b) shall be deemed to be four thousand rupees only.”
8. In continuation of the above, the Central Government (Ministry of Labour and Employment) has issued Notification published in the Gazette of India dated 31.5.2010, which reads as under:
“NOTIFICATION New Delihi, the 31st May, 2010 S.O.1258(E).- In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1B) of Section 4 of the Employees Compensation Act, 1923 (8 of 1923), the Central Government hereby specifies for the purpose of sub-section (1) of the said section, the following amount as monthly wages, with effect from the date of publication of this notification in the Official Gazette, namely:-
'Eight thousand rupees'”
9. In view of the above notification, no one can claim wages more than Rs.8,000/-, if it is established that the injured was drawing above Rs.8,000/- as monthly wages. That apart, if the minimum wages is less than Rs.8,000/- for the job being performed by the injured / deceased, it does not mean that the compensation will have to be calculated as if the monthly wages is Rs.8,000/-, as there is no provision for arriving at such compensation. If that was the intention of the Legislature, the minimum compensation payable under the Act would have been specified and there is no need for arithmetical calculation for determination of the amount. For example, if the salary of a person under the minimum wages Act is Rs.6,000/- or Rs.7,000/-, the legislature could have specifically mentioned that the compensation for all those, who are drawing less than Rs.8,000/- should be calculated as Rs.8,000/- only and since that is absent, the Authority was right in taking note of the minimum wages fixed for the particular job to arrive at the compensation.
10. Though it is a fit case to impose costs on this issue, the Appellant, being an injured person, this Court refrains itself from imposition of costs. Therefore, the issue raised with regard to enhancement of wages has rightly been answered by the Authority and this Court finds no reason whatsoever to interfere with the said finding and the present Civil Miscellaneous Appeal stands rejected, insofar as the said question, namely, enhancement of monthly wages, is concerned, as the Court cannot exercise the legislative powers and fix any amount, as it thinks it fit on account of the fact that the claim does not fall under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
11. Now, the Government, by Notification dated 03.01.2020, has enhanced the monthly wages from Rs.8,000/- to Rs.15,000/-, which is extracted hereunder:
“NOTIFICATION New Delhi, the 3rd January, 2020 S.O. 71(E).—In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1B) of section 4 of the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 (8 of 1923) and in supersession of the notification of the Ministry of Labour and Employment issued vide number S.O. 1258(E), dated 31st May, 2010; published in the Gazett
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e of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (ii), dated 31st May, 2010, the Central Government hereby specifies, for the purposes of sub-section (1) of the said section, the following amount as monthly wages, with effect from the date of publication of this notification in the Official Gazette, namely:- 'Fifteen thousand rupees'” 12. Though the monthly wages have been enhanced by aforestated notification, the enhanced wages cannot be applied to the case of the Appellant herein, as the notification dated 31.05.2010, fixing the monthly wages as Rs.8,000/- was in existence at the time of accident.