Report No. 62
4.4. Sections 8(1), 8(6) & 8(7)-provision regarding workmen.-
Section 8(1) requires consideration in some detail. There are two situations for which the mode of payment of compensation is specifically laid down in section 8(1). First, where the injury has resulted in death; and, secondly where a lump sum is to be paid as compensation to a woman or a person under legal disability. In these two cases the compensation must be deposited with the Commissioner; it cannot be paid directly by the employer to the person entitled. As regards the first situation, there can be no controversy, the object of deposit being to secure that the dependants are ascertained and the compensation apportioned amongst them under section 8(5) by the Commissioner.
As regards the second situation, again, there is no controversy as regards persons under legal disability. But as regards women, some reconsideration of the present law is necessary. The effect of the present provision for compulsory deposit is that it is not immediately paid to the person entitled. Even after deposit under section 8(6)-injury resulting in death-"the Commissioner may pay the amount to the person entitled thereto". Under section 8(7), where the lump sum deposited is payable to a woman (or a person under legal disability), the amount "may be invested", applied or otherwise dealt with for the benefit of the woman or of such person during his disability in such manner as the Commissioner may direct".
This scheme involves avoidable delay and inconvenience where the person entitled is an adult woman. The net effect of these provisions is that "compensation payable to an adult woman is not necessarily paid to her in cash immediately. It has to be deposited with the Commissioner and after that, its immediate payment to her is subject to the discretion of the Commissioner who may (if it is not paid immediately) invest it, apply it, or otherwise deal with it for the benefit of the woman.