Widow of the deceased employee, only on account of her subsequent remarriage, cannot be precluded from receiving compensation so determined by the Commissioner

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Deciding on an appeal wherein the issue arose as to whether in the absence of lodging of any claim, a widow of the deceased employee, only on account of her subsequent remarriage, is precluded from receiving compensation so determined by the Commissioner under Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 (Act), a bench of Sanjay Karol J, held that the Commissioner Workmen erred in misconstruing the provisions of law in holding that petitioner herein, was not a dependant as her claim stood eclipsed by time and was not entitled for apportionment of the amount to be disbursed. The Court further observed that the question of claim of the petitioner being eclipsed by law of limitation, as held by the Commissioner does not arise.

In the instant case the authority had found the claim of petitioner to have been eclipsed for non filing of claims within a period of two years, so prescribed under Section 10 of the Act. After perusal of the facts and relevant provisions of the Act, the Court noted that neither any section nor does the form filed before the Commissioner stipulates that all the dependants must be party applicants, as in the instant case where another dependant (mother-in- law) had filed an application for release of compensation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Court also noted that claim petition came to be filed on behalf of one of the dependants and that was sufficient for determination of compensation. Limitation so prescribed under Section 10 is only with regard to issuance of notice to the Commissioner Workmen and the object and purpose being to enable the Commissioner to take appropriate action against such of those employers, who commit default in complying with the mandatory provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Act. The Commissioner is empowered, upon being satisfied with the reasons for delay, in entertaining the claim beyond a period of two years. [Bano Devi v. Rashilu Devi, 2016 SCC OnLine HP 368, decided on 6.04.2016]

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