(Arising out of SLP (C) No. 14110 of 2006)
Arijit Pasayat, J.-
Challenge in this appeal is to the
order passed by a learned Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court
disposing of an appeal filed under Section 30(1) of Workmen's
Compensation Act, 1928 (in short the `Act'). The appellants lodged claim
petition claiming compensation in respect of certain persons who had
lost their lives. According to the appellants the deceased persons were
employed as workmen/labourer in a tractor and trailor combination which
was the subject matter of insurance. When the trailor was being loaded
with mud from the quarry, huge quantity of mud had collapsed from the
quarry smothering the workmen to death.
The Commissioner for Workmen's
Compensation (in short the `Commissioner') held that the accident had
taken place during and in the course of the employment and since the
vehicle has been used for purposes of loading, the Oriental Insurance
Company Ltd. were liable to indemnify the award made. The Insurer
challenged the correctness of the award taking the stand that the
liability of the insurer arises on account of death on a bodily injury
arising out of the use of the vehicle and in the present case the
admitted circumstances indicate that there was no proximate connection
between the use of the vehicle and the actual cause of death which was
overlooked by the Commissioner.
Stand of the appellants was that the
insurer is not correct in submitting that there was no use of the
vehicle at the time of accident. It was pointed out that though the
death occurred at a place away from the vehicle or the fact that the mud
which was being loaded on to the trailor from the quarry had killed the
workmen, is immaterial since the policy of the Insurance is intended to
cover the risk of workmen employed in the vehicle. The High Court found
that there was no actual use of the vehicle and therefore there was no
casual connection between the cause of death and the use of the vehicle.
3. Learned counsel for the appellant
submitted that no reason has been indicated by the High Court to hold
that there was no casual connection between the death and the use of the
vehicle. Reference is made to certain judgments of the High Court where
the view expressed by learned Single Judge was not accepted.
4. We find that there is practically
no discussion on the factual scenario as to whether there was any
connection between the death and the use of the vehicle. It would depend
upon the factual scenario in each case and there cannot be any strait
jacket formula to be applied.
5. The expression "use" in the
Statute is with reference to "use of the motor vehicle". Whether there
was a use of the motor vehicle has to be factually analysed. Since in
this case the factual position has not been examined in detail, it would
be appropriate for the High Court to deal the matter afresh.
Accordingly, we set aside the impugned judgment and remit the matter to
the High Court.
6. We make it clear that we have not
expressed any opinion on the merits of the case. Appeal is allowed to
the aforesaid extent. No costs.
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