This appeal has been filed before the Honorable Supreme Court pursuing to the appeal filed and the decision given by the Honorable High Court of Madras wherein the appeal was filed by the appellant herein from the suit lodged with the Deputy Commissioner under the provision regulating the Employee Compensation Act. The suit filed under the law was dismissed by the deputy commissioner and so the appeal was filed before the High Court of Madras to set aside the decision of the lower authority. The matter heard and the High Court then enhanced the compensation from INR 4,33,060/- to INR 8,86,120. The High Court, after considering also allowed the interest of 12% per annum on the compensation payable as per regulation by the Government under the Employees Compensation Act after the date on which the accident happened. The matter herein has been filed by the appellant herein under Article 136 of the Indian Constitution on 26th July 2019.
The appellant in the matter above was represented by the first appellant, the matter before wherein the order on 26th July 2019 passed by the court that the court should appoint an amicus curia from the member which forms the committee to be known as Supreme Court Legal Service Committee, whereas Mr. Mahendran was nominated by the Supreme Court as its amicus curiae whom the court has heard the contention made by him in support of the appeal. The parties to the matter are the father, mother, sister, and the brother of Dinesh Kumar who died in an accident on 31st January 2008. The petition filed clearly mentions that on the day of the accident, the person who died was of 26 years of age and he was a driver wherein he was engaged as the driver of the trailer lorry.
The duty that was allotted for transportation on the date he was driving on the National Highway 12 in Kota Rajasthan and at the same time, a truck bearing number MH 19 Z 1696 opposite lane and the truck out of full-throttle dashed into the lorry driven by Dinesh Kumar which eventually resulted into death of Dinesh Kumar. The matter clearly states that when the deceased was driving he was in the employment of the First Respondent. The appellant after the date of the accident filed a suit before the Deputy Commissioner pursuing the provision under the Employee Compensation Act, 1923 on 29th April 2013. On 26th March 2014, the claim was allowed, and by the rules, the compensation that was calculated by the authority was INR 4, 33, 060/-. The decision taken by the Deputy Commissioner was an ex-parte proceeding. The appellant aggrieved by the decision of the Deputy Commissioner filed an appeal with regard to the compensation and its calculation, the pleadings made by the appellant was for an increase in compensation. The High Court after a long proceeding of the matter decided there are various angles to the matter which are not yet discussed and the High Court in the right to enhanced compensation remanded the matter to the Deputy Commissioner for reconsidering the matter and to decide whether there exists any provision for enhanced compensation and see the matter from a fresh start and not from any pending stage for consideration.
The High Court while it decided to remand the matter to the Deputy Commissioner also stated that the compensation though calculated on various standards out of which one of them was on the basis of salary whereas the salary certificate that was submitted in the court which stated the salary of the deceased Dinesh Kumar was INR 32000 /- per month there was nothing else for the conformity and the validity of the certificate. The High Court also stated that there was no witness testimony that stated that the certificate issued was valid also no person appeared from the employer side testifying the income of the amount stated above was true. The High Court in the view that every person who claims the salary of the deceased should be in complete light and not in shadow so the matter that was remanded to the Deputy Commissioner to check the veracity of the salary by the testimony in record of the employer in this regard.
- Whether the decision by the Deputy Commissioner valid?
- Whether the question of law with respect, compensation was appropriate?
- Whether the decision of the High Court to remand valid?
- Whether the enhanced compensation exists as per the law in this behalf?
The Honorable Supreme Court after hearing the learned counsels representing both the parties in the matter above and considering the facts and the precedents submitted established by the Honorable Judges to support the prayers and pleadings of the parties in the matter above states its observation herein that the court believes the evidence provided by the appellant in behalf of the salary and other benefits received by the deceased from his employer has proven to be correct in all respect and there exist nothing to have suspicion upon that part of the judgment, as the court seemingly acknowledged the interpretation of the High Court and appreciates it's finding the duty of the court was to see the compensation accorded in the light of relief and not just mere calculation of the sum received.
The Supreme Court is of the opinion that the judgment cannot be allowed to be set aside or nor can any addition be made to the judgment as there exists no appeal by the respondent and the fair period of 12 years has been passed and so in the appropriate cause of justice the appeal stands dismissed by deciding the matter by the interpretation of the High Court. The Court further finds that the compensation that was decided needs to be reconsidered, but the same cannot be done by this court pursuing to the Article 142 of the Constitution of India intermittent powers of this court.
This court decides the matter wherein the compensation payable will be INR 8, 86, 120/- on which the interest of 12% P.A will be applicable from the date of the accident. The liability will be in the joint and several principles. The compensation payable to the 1st and 2nd appellant jointly and severable and the amount compensations decided shall be paid by the person within the period of 2 months from the date of this order or from the copy received of this order, the appeal stands disposed, and no order as to cost.