National Insurance Company … vs Urmila Jenasamanta And Ors. on 4 August, 2003

Orissa High Court
National Insurance Company … vs Urmila Jenasamanta And Ors. on 4 August, 2003
Equivalent citations: I (2005) ACC 664
Author: B Das
Bench: B Das


JUDGMENT

B.P. Das, J.

1. Heard Shri N.C. Misra for the appellant, Mr. J.K. Katikia for respondent Nos. 1 to 3 and Mr. P.P. Ray for respondent No. 5.

2. In this appeal under Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 the instance of the insurer is directed against the judgment passed by the Asst. Labour Commissioner-cum-Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation, Orissa, Bhubaneswar, in Workmen’s Compensation Case No. 51/98, allowing the claim for compensation in part to the extent of Rs. 1,97,060/- and saddling the liability of payment of the aforesaid amount of compensation on the insurer, i.e., the present appellant.

3. Respondent Nos. 1 to 4, who are the widow, parents and daughter of deceased Jayanta @ Jayakrushna Jenasamanta respectively filed an application before the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner claiming compensation of Rs. 3,94,000/- for the death of the deceased in a motor vehicular accident, which arose out of and in course of his employment as a driver of a Trekker bearing Regn. No. OR-02/F 9322 belonging to respondent No. 5. It was alleged that on 29th July, 1998 the deceased while discharging his duty as the driver of the aforesaid vehicle and was coming from Bhubaneswar to Gopipada on N.H. 5 between Kliurda and Jankia, the vehicle went off the left side of the road and capsized resulting in the death of the deceased at the spot. According to the claimants, as the death of the deceased was in the accident which arose out of and in course of the employment under respondent No. 1 i.e., the owner of the vehicle, they are entitled to get compensation from the owner of the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle appeared before the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner and filed her written statement admitting the employment, the accidental death of the deceased and stating that the deceased was getting Rs. 2,100/- as wages per month. The police papers also speak about the accident and the fact that the deceased was driving the vehicle and died in the aforesaid accident.

4. The Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner framed as many as three issues and came to find that the deceased being the driver of the vehicle was a workman within the meaning of the Workmen’s Compensation Act and the accident arose out of and in course of employment and the legal dependents of the deceased are entitled to get compensation. The Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner assessed the compensation at Rs. 1,97,060/- and saddled the liability of payment of compensation on the insurer of the vehicle, i.e., the present appellant, as the policy of insurance was valid covering the date of the accident and the deceased had a valid and effective driving licence at the time of the accident.

5. Learned Counsel for the appellant submits that a point of law is involved in the appeal because in the driving licence so issued in favour of the deceased-driver, there was no endorsement authorising the deceased to drive a transport vehicle. The Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner has taken into consideration the aforesaid aspect, which was raised before him by the insurer and it was held that the original driving licence was issued with an endorsement “authorised to drive light motor vehicle (Professional)” but at the time of renewal of the same, the licensing authority has no mentioned anything regarding the type of vehicle and the endorsement should be the same as in the original driving licence and, therefore, the deceased had a valid and effective driving licence at the time of the accident. When the original licence has been issued and the same was renewed, it can be safely said that it was renewed for the purpose of driving the same type of vehicle unless and otherwise the driver is prevented from the same. This cannot be said that the driver had no valid and effective driving licence.

6. The Tribunal asserted the compensation by taking the monthly wage of the deceased at Rs. 2,000/- and taking 50% of the same and considering the age of the deceased quantified the compensation at Rs. 1,97,060/-. The compensation fixed by the Commissioner appears to be just and proper.

7. No substantial point of law is involved in this appeal for which there is no scope of interfere with the impugned judgment of the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner. The appeal is accordingly dismissed.

So far as interest is concerned, it is open to the respondent to approach the Workmen’s Compensation Court in terms of Section 4-A(3) of the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

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