EMPLOYEES STATE INSURANCE CORPORATION Vs. RAPHELAMMA VARGHESE
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
EMPLOYEES STATE INSURANCE CORPORATION
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P.SUBRAMONIAN POTI,J. -
(1.) THE same question arises in all these appeals. When the opposite party in an application filed by the Employees ™State Insurance Corporation for recovery of contribution died the applicant Corporation moved to implead the legal representatives beyond the period of 90 days but within a period of 150 days. It was then contended by one of the legal representatives to whom notice was issued that the application was not maintainable as the application had abated by reason of non -impleadment of the legal representative within 90 days as provided by article 120 of the Limitation Act,1963 Later the Employees ™Insurance Court was moved to set aside the abatement. The Employees ™Insurance Court, Alleppey held that the application ought to have been filed within 90 days as is required by article 120 of the Limitation Act, 1963,the application for setting aside the abatement was filed beyond the period of 150 days and further there is no cause shown for setting aside the abatement.In this view all the applications were dismissed.It is against this that the matter has been taken to this Court by the Employees ™State Insurance Corporation.
(2.) BEFORE us one of the contentions raised by the appellant Corporation in all these cases is that the provisions of the Limitation Act would have no application to proceedings before the Employees ™Insurance Court unless such provisions are made applicable by the provisions of the Employees ™State Insurance Act or by any other law.It is said that in this regard no such provision has been made.Section 78 of the Employees ™Insurance Act provides that the Employees ™Insurance Court shall have all the powers of a civil court(i)for the purpose of summoning and enforcing of attendance(ii)compelling the discovery and production of documents and material objects and(iii)administering oath and recording evidence,This evidently indicates that the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code are applicable only in regard to the three matters specified. Provision as to impleading on the death of a party is not one to which reference has been made in section 78.Again no mention is made of any period within which the application for impleading should be made,and no provision of the Limitation Act is made applicable specifically by any provision in the Employees ™State Insurance Act.
The provisions of the Indian Limitation Act,1963 will not automatically be applicable to the proceedings of the Insurance Court for the Limitation Act is intended only to apply to proceedings before civil courts.Reading the various provisions of the Limitation Act,the Supreme Court had occasion to consider this question.It was held in the decision in Nityanand v.L.I.C.of India A.I.R.1970 S.C.209
In our view article 137 only contemplates applications to Courts.In the Third Division of the Schedule to the Limitation Act,1963,all the other applications mentioned in the various articles are applications filed in a court.Further section 4 of the Limitation Act,1963 provides for the contingency when the prescribed period for any application expires on a holiday and the only contingency contemplated is ˜when the court is closed &rsquo ;.Again under section 5 it is only a court which is enabled to admit an application after the prescribed period has expired if the court is satisfied that the applicant had sufficient cause for not preferring the application.It seems to us that the scheme of the Indian Limitation Act is that it only deals with applications to courts,and that the Labour Court is not a court within the Indian Limitation Act,1963 ;.
The question of application of the Limitation Act to proceedings before the Employees ™State Insurance Court and the period of limitation applicable directly arose for decision in this Court in South India Corporation(Travan core)P.Ltd.v.Employees 'State Insurance Corporation 1973 K.L.T.571.It has been held that the provisions of the Limitation Act are not applicable to the proceedings before the Insurance Court.Adopting this view we have to uphold the contention of the appellant and find that the Employees ™State Insurance Court was wrong in dismissing the application for impleading on the ground of limitation.But we are not to be taken to have pronounced on the question whether the application for impleading would otherwise be maintainable,a matter on which,if so advised,it is open to the opposite party to raise objection and if so raised we are sure the Insurance Court would certainly consider the matter.We are remitting the matter back to that court for enabling it to continue the proceedings in the light of what we have said in these appeals.
Allowed as above.No costs.
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