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Employees' Compensation: " Reduction In Extent Of Disability On Ground That WHO Norms Are For Advanced Countries & Not India Is Not Sustainable" : Supreme Court

Srishti Ojha
20 Nov 2021 1:23 PM GMT
Employees Compensation:  Reduction In Extent Of Disability On Ground That WHO Norms Are For Advanced Countries & Not India Is Not Sustainable : Supreme Court
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In a matter relating to reduction in compensation award Employees' Compensation Act, Supreme Court on Monday ( November 15th) observed that reducing the extent of disability on the ground that the WHO norms are for the advanced countries and not in respect of India, is patently not sustainable.A Bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Ramasubramanian made the observation with regard...

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In a matter relating to reduction in compensation award Employees' Compensation Act, Supreme Court on Monday ( November 15th) observed that reducing the extent of disability on the ground that the WHO norms are for the advanced countries and not in respect of India, is patently not sustainable.

A Bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Ramasubramanian made the observation with regard to the Karnataka High Court's decision to reduce the extent of disability suffered by the employee solely because it was assessed based on WHO norms.

The extent of disability originally assessed was 45% which was reduced later to 15%.

While noting the disability of 45% (original calculation) was assessed after going through ALMCOI and WHO manuals according to the doctor, the Bench observed that medical studies are not restricted to the advanced countries but in respect of the entire world.

"Therefore, reducing the extent of disability on the ground that the WHO norms are for the advanced countries and not in respect of India, is patently not sustainable," the Bench said.

The present appeal has been filed challenging Karnataka High Court's order dated 27.03.2018, whereby an Award passed by the Commissioner under the Employees' Compensation Act, 1923, awarding a sum of Rs. 5,46,711 along with interest at the rate of 6% was modified and reduced to that of Rs. 1,47,124 with interest at the rate of 12%.

The High Court had reduced the amount of compensation awarded keeping in view the fact that the disability suffered by the appellant, as assessed by the Commissioner, is not 45%, but 15%.

The sole reasoning given by the High Court to reject the medical evidence is that the Doctor has assessed the disability as per the norms of World Health Organisation [WHO] and such norms emanate from socio-economic factors that operate in advanced countries and not in the country like India.

While finding that the entire reasoning of the High Court suffers from patent illegality, the Bench set aside High Court's order to the extent of disability assessed at 15% and the Award of Rs. 5,46,711 made by the Commissioner on the basis of 45% disability suffered by the appellant is restored.

The appellant was represented through Advocates Manjunath Meled, Sandeep Sharma, and Ganesh Kumar.

The respondent company was represented through Advocates J. P. N. Shahi, and Rameshwar Prasad Goyal.

Case Title: Shri Salim vs New India Assurance Company Ltd & Anr, SLP( Crl) 2621/2019 

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