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The Chairman v. The Deputy Commissioner of2.S.Ramakrishna - W.P.(MD).No.5421 of 2007  RD-TN 2018 (20 June 2007)
BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE K.CHANDRU
W.P.(MD).No.5421 of 2007
M.P.No.1 of 2007
Tuticorin Port Trust,
Tuticorin. ... Petitioner
1.The Deputy Commissioner of
2.S.Ramakrishnan. ... Respondents
This Petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying for the issuance of writ of Certiorari, calling for he records pertaining to the impugned order in W.C.(M).21/06, dated 15.11.2006, on the file of the Deputy Commissioner of Labour, Tirunelveli, the first respondent herein and quash the same.
For Petitioner : Mr.S.Yashwanth
For 1st respondent : Mrs.V.Chellammal,
Spl. Govt. Pleader
For 2nd respondent : No appearance
The petitioner is the Tuticorin Port Trust, which is a statutory body established by the Act of Parliament and it is a Central Government Establishment. In the petitioner establishment, the second respondent was working as Electrician Grade II. On 30.07.1995 while attending to the pumping work, he met with an accident. The second respondent thought that he could get the reliefs at the hands of the writ petitioner. When that was not forthcoming, he approached the Union.
2. The Tuticorin Port Trust Democratic Staff Union had raised an industrial dispute seeking for the payment of injury pension to the second respondent. The said issue was referred for adjudication by the Central Government Industrial Tribunal in I.D.No.375/04. The reference by the Central Government was dated 14.06.2004. The writ petitioner participated in the said proceedings and did not raise any ground of delay in making reference. However, the Tribunal by its award dated 26.04.2005 in I.D.No.375 of 2004 held that there is a special forum for the purpose of determining the workmen's compensation and need not be agitated before the Industrial Tribunal. In that view of the matter, the Tribunal rejected the claim of the Union.
3. It is not clear as to when the second respondent received the award from his Union because in a collective dispute, the Union alone has to pursue the remedy. However, suffice to say that within ten months from the date of the Award, the second respondent filed a claim before the first respondent, Commissioner. The said claim was taken on file in W.C.No.21 of 2006 and notice was ordered to the writ petitioner. Since apparently there was a delay in terms of Section 10 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, the second respondent filed an application for condonation of delay and he had also stated that the accident arose out of and in the course of his employment on 29.7.1995 and subsequently, he lost his vision in the left eye. Even though he was given medical treatment, the Hospital suggested for surgical removal of left eye. The writ petitioner contested the delay application by stating there was a delay of nine years and two months, therefore, it should not be excused by the Commissioner.
4. The Commissioner after hearing parties very clearly came to the conclusion that this was a fit case for condonation of delay and while deciding the application for condonation of delay the Commissioner also very correctly stated that workmen Compensation is a Social Welfare Legislation and in the matter of delay, a liberal view must be taken. Further, the Commissioner also referred to previous proceedings held. Actually, there was no delay in pursuing remedy. It is this order of the Commissioner dated 15.11.2006 that is sought to be challenged in this writ petition.
5. It is seen from the original order produced by the Port Trust that the order was received as early as on 21.12.2006 and the present writ petition has been filed only yesterday i.e., 19.06.2007. In the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition there is no averment as to why the Port Trust waited for six months to challenge this order. Perhaps, the proceedings before the first respondent must have commenced pursuant to the condonation of delay and that may be the reason for moving this Court in the guise of desperation.
6. I heard the arguments of Mr.S.Yashwanth, the learned counsel for the Port Trust. The learned counsel submitted that it is not a question of an ordinary delay but inordinate delay. Therefore, the Port Trust is entitled to challenge the said order.
7. I am unable to subscribe to the contentions raised by the petitioner and under section 10 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, a claim for compensation in case of permanent partial disablement shall be made within a period of two years from the date of occurrence. However, the 5th proviso to Section 10 is as follows:
"Provided, further that the commissioner may entertain and decide any claim to compensation in any case notwithstanding that the notice has not been given, or the claim has not been preferred in due time as provided in this subsection, if he is satisfied that the failure so to give the notice or prefer the claim, as the case may be, was due to sufficient cause."
8. Therefore, from the above, it can be seen that it is not only a two years even a further period can be condoned by the authority and the only ground was that the authority must be satisfied on the question of delay.
9. In the present case, this Court is of the view that since the second respondent, workman has been agitating his claim through his union which resulted in reference to the Industrial Tribunal, and the Industrial Tribunal as early as on 26.04.2005 negatived the plea of the second respondent and immediately thereafter he had moved the authorities actually there is no question of delay as the petitioner has diligently pursuing his remedy.
10. Further, the learned counsel for the petitioner submits the award dated 26.04.2005 will operate as res judicata against the second respondent, because the tribunal negatived the plea of the second respondent.
11. This contention is without any merits, because in the penultimate paragraph 8 of the award the Tribunal very clearly says that the workman must pursue his remedy
under the special Law and that the Workmen's Compensation Act being a Special Law, the workman must approach the said forum. When there is no decision on merit, the said order cannot operate as res judicata for the workman to pursue his remedy. Even this submission is without merits and the Workmen's Compensation Act is a Special Act. The Act under Section 30 provides for a comprehensive appeal in case of any substantial question of law arises to an appellate authority which appellate authority is none other than the High Court itself.
12. Therefore, if the parties are aggrieved by any final order passed by the Commissioner, there is a remedy provided under the Act and the writ petition is not the answer to the present case. The petitioner being a statutory body, did not even wait for the outcome of the merits of the case and pursued the legal remedy in terms of Section 30 of the Act, filed the present writ petition to invoke extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. A statutory body cannot fritter away the public money and file such a
case even against the preliminary orders. The writ petition is highly misconceived and stands dismissed. Consequently, connected M.P.No.1 of 2007 is also dismissed. No costs.
1.The Deputy Commissioner of
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