Decided on August 24,1983



- (1.) THE Employees' State Insurance Corporation being, aggrieved by, the order, dated, February 21, 1963 dismissing its application filed under section 77 of the Employees' State insurance Act, 1948, has presented this appeal under section 80 of the said Act. In our view, the learned Judge of the employees' State Insurance Court has clearly committed a substantial error of law by holding that the aforesaid application under section 77 of the Act was barred by limitation. The said application was filed on 12th April, 1962 and, therefore, the point for consideration in this appeal is whether any of the articles in the First Schedule of the Limitation Act, 1908 and in particular article 62 or Article 181 of the said Act would apply to such an application before the Employees' Insurance Court.
(2.) THE Employees' Insurance Court has been constituted under section 74 (1)of the Employees' Stare Insurance Act, 1948 for adjudicating disputes and claims under Chapter VI of the said Act. It is a Court of Special Jurisdiction and is not among the hierarchy of the Courts constituted under the Bengal, Agra and assam Civil Courts Act read with the code of Civil Procedure 1908. The Employees' Insurance Court under section 78 of the Act has powers of a Civil Court for the purposes of summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses, compelling the discovery and production of documents and material objects, administering oath and recording evidence and such Court shall be deemed to be a Civil Court within the meaning of Section 195 and Chapter 35 of the code of Criminal Procedure Code, 1898. Thus, the said Court has been given some and not all the powers of civil court for the purposes specified in the said sub-section and not in all matters set out in the Code of Civil Procedure. The Employees' Insurance Court is required to follow procedure as may be prescribed by rules made under section 78 (2) of the Act. Chapter VI of the Act which deals with the adjudication of disputes and claims, at the material time did not prescribe any limitation for filing of an application for institution of a proceeding under the said Act. During the pendency of this Appeal the sub-section (1a) was inserted in section 77 of the Act (vide section 33 of the Employees' State Insurance Amendment act, 1966 ). Prima facie, the said subsection (1a) of section 77 which prescribes that every application before the employees' Insurance Court shall be made within a period of three years from the date on which the cause of action arose was not given retrospective effect. Therefore, in the present case the question of limitation ought to be decided in the context of law as it stood before the commencement of the Employees' State Insurance Amendment Act, 1966.
(3.) THE Employees' Insurance court is a Court of Special Jurisdiction and not a civil court. Therefore, having regard to the sections 4, 5 and 29 of the Limitation Act, 1908, none of the Articles mentioned in Schedule 1 of the said Limitation Act, 1908 would apply to an application filed before the Employees' Insurance Court. It may be pointed out that in case of an appeal under section 82 of the said Act, under sub-section (3)of the said section a period of limitation was prescribed while the statute did not at the relevant point of time prescribe any period of limitation in case of filing an application before the employees' Insurance Court.;

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