Report No. 62
1A.9. Movement in India.-
Similar considerations weighed with the Indian Legislature in enacting the Workmen's Compensation Act in 1923. As pointed out by Dr. Panandikar,1 compensation schemes were not unknown in India. But the worker was always at the mercy of the employer. He could not claim compensation as a matter of right. The compensation was paid only when the employer, out of his kind gesture, granted it. Dr. Hasan2 tells us: "As far back as 1884, workers in Bombay made a demand for compensation in a petition to the Government of India, but nothing came out of it."3
It appears that in 1920, the workers actually agitated, and a number of strikes were organised in the country on this issue.
1. Panandikar's Industrial Labour in India, cited by Vivek Ranjan Bhattacharya Social Security Measures in India, (1970), p. 76.
2. N. Hasan Social Security System of India, (1972), p. 65.
3. Rai Choudhary Social Security in India and Britain, p. 34, cited by Vivek Ranjan Bhattacharya Social Security Measures in India, (1970), p. 76.
1A.9A. Bill of 1922.-
In July 1921, the Government of India addressed the local Governments on the desirability of introducing legislation for the payment of workmen's compensation.1 This was done after a detailed examination of the question by the Government of India. The provisional views of the Government of India were published for general information. The advisability of legislation had been accepted by the great majority of local Governments and of employers' and workers' associations, and the Government of India believed that public opinion generally was in favour of legislation.2
In June 1922, a committee was convened to consider the question. This committee was composed, for the most part, of members of the Imperial legislature. After considering the numerous replies and opinions received by the Government of India, the Committee was unanimously in favour of legislation, and drew up detailed recommendations regarding the lines which, in its opinion, such legislition should follow. The Bill presented in 1922 followed these recommendations5 closely. A number of supplementary provisions were added where necessary, but practically no variations of importance were made.
1. N. Hasan Social Security System of India, (1972), p. 66.
2. Statement of Objects and Reasons annexed to the Bill of 1922 dated 29th August, 1922.