No compensation under WCI Act 1923 for deceased employee insured under ESI ACT 1948 – SC

The Supreme Court of India has ruled that employees insured under the Section 2 (14) of the Employee State Insurance Act, 1948 is not entitled to any compensation from the employer under the Workmen Compensation Act, 1923.

The judgment was delivered by a two bench judge comprising Justices PC Pant and Dipak Misra while hearing a plea by a woman whose husband lost his life at the place of employment.

The woman, legal successor of the deceased was awarded a compensation of INR 3 lakh + 18 per cent interest under the 1923 Act. In his defense, the employer, respondent in the case, claimed that the legal heirs of the deceased employee were not entitled to any compensation under the 1923 Act as he was insured under the 1948 Act.

In addition, he claimed that the accident that took the life of the employee did not occur during the time of his employment. He also argued that the death was caused by a coronary disorder which had absolutely nothing to do with the workplace.

“The deceased employee was clearly an ‘insured person’, as defined in the Act. As the deceased employee has suffered an employment injury as defined under Section 2(8) of the Act and there is no dispute that he was in employment of the employer, by operation of Section 53 of the Act, proceedings under the Compensation Act were excluded statutorily. The High Court was not justified in holding otherwise,” read the SC judgment.

“We find that the Corporation has filed an affidavit indicating that the benefits under the Act shall be extended to the persons entitled under the Act. The benefits shall be worked out by the Corporation and shall be extended to the eligible persons,” it added.

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