Kerala Head Load Workers Vs. P.V. Prakasan [Kerala High Court, 12-06-2012]

Kerala Headload Workers (Regulation of Employment and Welfare) Scheme, 1983 – Section 29 A – Non-payment of the additional levy of 2% in terms of clause 29 A (1) gives the right to the Board to interfere with the levy and effect recovery of amounts due.

2012 (3) KLT 116 : ILR 2012 (3) Ker. 1 : 2012 (3) KHC 1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

THOTTATHIL B.RADHAKRISHNAN & K.VINOD CHANDRAN, JJ.

M.F.A.No.242 of 2009

(WCC.25/2006 of WORKMAN’S COMPENSATION COURT,ERNAKULAM)

Dated this the 12th day of June, 2012

FOR APPELLANT / (OPPOSITE PARTIES): BY ADV. SRI.KOSHY GEORGE FOR RESPONDENTS / APPLICANT: BY ADVS. SRI.BABU KARUKAPADATH, SRI.JAGAN GEORGE, SRI.P.G.PRAMOD

J U D G M E N T

Thottathil B.Radhakrishnan, J.

1. The Kerala Headload Workers Welfare Fund Board challenges an award of the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner made in favour of a headload worker.

2. The incident is not in dispute. A shop owner Sri.K.G.Sajan utilised the services of headload workers allotted by the appellants. One worker, Prakasan, was injured in the course of that work. That led to the impugned award.

3. The liability of the Board to pay compensation is disputed only on the plea that Sajan had not paid 2% additional levy in terms of

Section 29 A of the Kerala Headload Workers (Regulation of Employment and Welfare) Scheme, 1983

and that therefore, the Board cannot be mulcted with the liability.

4. For one thing, the liability under the Workmen’s Compensation Act is one that cannot be impinged by the provisions of the Kerala Headload Workers (Regulation of Employment and Welfare) Scheme, 1983. The provision for collection of additional levy in terms of clause 29 A of that Scheme obliges the Board to collect additional levy and also to make payment out of Accident Relief Funds. The consequence of failure to make contributions to the Accident Relief Fund, as envisaged in sub-clause 4 of clause 29 A of the Scheme is only to the effect that the immediate employer would not get insulated from any liability under the Workmen’s Compensation Act on the premise that the Board would release the amount. That insulation, available to the immediate employer, is not a defense that the Board can rely on to claim any exemption or privilege from paying amounts due from the Accident Relief Fund. Non-payment of the additional levy of 2% in terms of clause 29 A (1) gives the right to the Board to interfere with the levy and effect recovery of amounts due. It does not depend upon the volition of persons like Sajan who utilise the service of headload workers enlisted under the Scheme. We, therefore, do not find any merit in the appeal in that regard.

5. As regards the date from which the order for interest could be made under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, following the judgment in MFA.59/11 dated 22.8.2011, it is ordered that liability to pay interest will be from the date of accident. Hence, it is answered against the appellant.

In the result, this appeal is dismissed without prejudice to the Board’s right to recover outstandings, if any, from the aforesaid Sajan, in terms of clause 29 A of the Scheme, in accordance with law. No costs.