UNION OF INDIA Vs. BAI KAMLADEVI WD O HIMATRAM PARDESHIRAM
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
UNION OF INDIA
BAI KAMLADEVI WD/O HIMATRAM PARDESHIRAM
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(1.) This appeal under sec. 30 of The Workmens Compensation Act 1923 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) is filed by the employer-railway administration against the respondents-original applicants who claim to be the heirs of the deceased workman Himatram Pardeshiram who died in an unfortunate accident in the morning of December 19 1973 when he was crushed by a speeding engine on the railway track near Godhra Railway station. The respondents-claimants had filed Workmen Compensation Application No. 23 of 1974 in the court of the learned Civil Judge (Senior Division) and Ex-officio Commissioner for Workmens Compensation Panchmahals at Godhra for realisation of Rs. 8 0 by way of compensation on the ground that the deceased workman died on account of an injury caused to him by an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment on the fateful day. The said application was allowed by the learned Commissioner. That has brought the employer railway administration to this Court by way of the present appeal.
(2.) The facts leading to this appeal are few and far between. The deceased workman Himatram Pardeshiram was a member of Railway Protection Force a Sainik and he was transferred to Baroda from Godhra where he was serving earlier. He was allotted a railway quarter in Loco Shed at Godhra. As the deceased was not allotted a quarter by the railway authorities at Baroda he was permitted to stay at the previously allotted quarter with his family members at Godhra where the claimants continued to stay even after the departure of Himatram Pardeshiram in May 1973. It appears that in December 1973 the aforesaid Himatram was posted on patrolling duty at Bakrol near Godhra and he had to return to Baroda headquarters on December 25 1973 In the meanwhile after his duty hours at Bakrol ended in the early morning of December 19 1973 the workman tried to go to his residential quarter at Godhra which was lying at a short distance from his place of duty at Bakrol but while approaching his railway quarter in the Loco Shed at Godhra he had to cross a railway line and while attempting to cross over the railway line he was unfortunately crushed to death by a speeding railway engine. The original applicants present respondents claimed compensation from the employer-railway administration by filing Workmen Compensation Application No. 23 of 1974 in the Court of Civil Judge Senior Division Panchmahals at Godhra. The appellants in their written statement at Exhibit 9 contended that the deceased did not die as a result of the accident while he was on duty or in the course of his employment. That the deceased was serving at Bakrol and he had come to Godhra on a private visit. Their case was that the deceased was serving at Bakrol and his headquarter at the relevant time was Baroda. He was already transferred to Baroda in May 1973 and in December 1973 he had no business to go to Godhra after his duty hours ended in the early morning of December 19 1973 Thus the contention of the railway administration was that the deceased workman had gone to Godhra on a private visit and when he was run over by a speeding engine while approaching his residential quarter at Godhra he cannot be said to have died on account of an accident which was caused to him in the course of or arising out of his employment. The aforesaid contentions of the appellants were turned down by the learned Commissioner and a decree for Rs. 8000 came to be passed in favour of the original applicantspresent respondents with a further direction to deposit a substantial portion of the compensation amount in a nationalised bank on a long term basis. The said order of the ex-officio Commissioner has resulted in the present appeal at the instance of the railways.
(3.) Mr. Pandit for the appellant-railways has put forward his case in a very fair manner. Mr. Pandit submitted that the deceased workman was already transferred from Godhra to Baroda months back in May 1973 as the order at Exhibit 25 shows. Thereafter his headquarters were obviously at Baroda. From Baroda he was temporarily shifted to Bakrol which was of course near Godhra but from Bakrol he had to go back to Baroda his original headquarters by December 25 1973 But in the meantime the deceased workman tried to pay a private visit to his residential premises at Godhra and while going on a private visit he was unfortunately run over by a speeding railway engine and consequently he died on account of the accident which had not arisen in the course of his employment or out of his employment. Mr. Pandit also submitted that the learned Commissioner has resorted to a lot of rhetorics and has made certain observations which were quite off the tangent and wide off the mark.
Mr. J. C. Sheth the learned advocate appearing for the respondentsclaimants original applicants on the other hand has supported the final order as passed by the learned Commissioner.;
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