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Report No. 62

1A.15. Chief principles of Workmen's Compensation Act.-

The chief principles of the Act can be reduced to the following principles. These principles lay down its scope, modify the common law, quantify the compensation or create an alternative machinery:

(1) Scope of the industrial injury.-The compensable injury is described as any personal injury occurring by accident "arising out of, and in the course of, the employment."1

(2) Scope of the employment to which the Act applies.-The Act is applicable to certain specified employments.2 Moreover, the benefit can be claimed only by a person falling within the definition of "workman".

These two principles lay down the scope of the Act.

(3) Employer's liability irrespective of fault.-The employer is (with limited exceptions) liable to pay compensation irrespective of fault.3

(4) Contracting out of the Act not permissible.-The Act overrides any contract to the contrary.

These two principles modify the common law.

(5) Calculation of compensation.-Compensation is, from, the point of view of the workman, the most important part of the Act. The broad questions to be determined are-

(a) Nature of the injury, and its consequences4

(i) Death;

(ii) Permanent total or partial disablement; and

(iii) Temporary disablement.

(b) Amount of "wages".

(c) Whether compensation should be periodical or in lump sum.

(6) Case of death.-Rights of dependants are dealt with.5 These two principles quantify the compensation in detail.

(7) Machinery for speedy settlement.6-Since the scheme of compensation is complicated, and usually involves the determination of difficult questions of fact and law, a machinery for speedy settlement is provided.

This last principle creates a machinery alternative to the conventional courts.. A few detailed comments about some of these aspects may be useful.

1. Section 3(1).

2. Section 2(1)(n), read with the Second Schedule.

3. Section 3.

4. Cf. section 4.

5. Section 2(1)(d) and section 8(5).

6. Sections 19 to 30.

Workmens Compensation Act, 1923 Back

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