Doctrine Of Notional Extension Of Employment Applies When Accident Occurred While Deceased Workman Was In Workplace Not By His Own Choice: SC [Read Judgment]

Doctrine Of Notional Extension Of Employment Applies When Accident Occurred While Deceased Workman Was In Workplace Not By His Own Choice: SC [Read Judgment]

“If the requirement of the deceased to stay with the bus was integrally connected with the efficiency of the service to be provided to the public by respondent no.1 and the deceased was not present at the bus terminal with the bus in his nature as a member of the public by choice, we see no reason why the doctrine of notional extension of the employment will not be applicable”

Applying the 'doctrine of notional extension of the employment', the Supreme Court has ordered employers to pay compensation to the legal heirs of a bus driver who had died in an accident while he was coming down the roof of the bus after having his meals.

"Merely because the deceased was coming down the roof of the bus after having his meal, cannot be considered in isolation and interpreted so myopically to hold that he was off duty and therefore would not be entitled to compensation," the bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Navin Sinha said.

The court was considering the appeal of legal heirs of the deceased driver whose claim petition under the Employee's Compensation Act, 1923 as amended by the Workmen's Compensation (Amendment) Act, 2009, was rejected.

Referring to evidence in this regard, the bench said that the driver was present at the bus terminal and remained with the bus even after arrival from Indore not by choice, but by compulsion and necessity, because of the nature of his duties.

"If the deceased would have gone home every day after parking the bus and returned the next morning, the efficiency of the timing of the bus service facility to the travelling public would definitely have been affected, dependant on the arrival of the deceased at the bus stand from his house. Naturally that would bring an element of uncertainty in the departure schedule of the bus and efficiency of the service to the travelling public could be compromised. Adherence to schedule by the deceased would naturally inure to the benefit of respondent no.1 by enhancement of income because of timely service. It is not without reason that the deceased would not go home for weeks as deposed by the appellant," the bench said.

The court said that there was a clear nexus between the accident and the employment to apply the doctrine of "notional extension".

"If the requirement of the deceased to stay with the bus was integrally connected with the efficiency of the service to be provided to the public by respondent no.1 and the deceased was not present at the bus terminal with the bus in his nature as a member of the public by choice, we see no reason why the doctrine of notional extension of the employment will not be applicable," the bench added.

The bench also directed the Workmen's Compensation Commissioner to calculate compensation payable to the legal heirs.

Read the Judgment Here