HC gives quietus to issue of compensation

It pertains to death of a site engineer at a hydro power station

In order to give a quietus to an issue pertaining to compensation amount to be paid to the family of a deceased employee of private company, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the employer to pay the amount directly to the family.

The court was hearing two connected matters pertaining to the issue of the compensation. In 2014, B. Thangamurugan of Dindigul, a site engineer in a hydro power station, died due to an electric shock. The employer, Team Lease Services, that provides outsourcing services to various clients, was liable to pay compensation under the Employees Compensation Act.

An initial amount of ₹3 lakh was paid and a sum of ₹8.73 lakh was arrived at as a compensation amount. The interest for the unpaid amount worked out to ₹4.74 lakh. However, the father of the deceased, A. Balan, had filed a petition seeking adequate compensation and did not agree with the compensation amount.

When the firm wanted to deposit the compensation amount with the Labour Commissioner in order to settle the issue, it was refused on the ground that the petition filed by the father of the deceased was pending before the court. Meanwhile, on humanitarian grounds, Kirloskar Brothers, another firm party to the case, agreed to pay ₹4 lakh to the family.

With the compensation amount adding up to more than ₹20 lakh, Justice S. Vaidyanathan directed the amount be paid directly to the family.

The judge observed that whenever an employer deposits an amount with the authority under the Employees Compensation Act, it was the bounden duty of the authority to receive it.

The Act contemplated that an employer had to deposit the amount and intimate an accident. Unless there was an interim order that was operating against the authority with regard to deposit of the amount payable by the employer, mere quoting of the pendency of the petition was not the right procedure, the judge said.

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