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Report No. 62

1B.10. Present position under the Indian Act.-

As regards the position under the Indian Act, it may be stated that there is no express provision in the Act regarding extra-territorial application in general. But it would appear that implicitly the Act recognizes that in one situation, the Act is intended to have extra-territorial operation-though of a very limited character. We refer to the provision as to ships1. Section 15 states that "this Act shall apply in the case of workmen who are masters of ships oreamen" (subject to certain modifications).

This would seem not to be confined to ships in Indian territorial waters. Nor is it confined to ships registered in India. The word "registered", which occurred in section 15 and in the definition of "seaman" in section 2(1)(k), was omitted2 in 1933, alongwith the definition of "registered" which appeared previously3 as section 2(1)(j) and which stated that "registered" means "registered in British India." Section 15(2), under which the time limit for making a claim for compensation is to be counted after news of the death has been received by the claimant etc., suggests that the Legislature had in mind not merely accidents occurring on the shores of India or within its territorial waters, but also accidents occurring abroad or on the high seas.

The procedural provision in section 15(3), to some extent, bears out such a wide interpretation; and the provision in the Act relating to venue,4 under which, where the workman is the master of a ship or a seaman, any matter under the Act may be done by or before a Commissioner "for the area in which the owner or agent of the ship resides or carries on business," is also wide enough to support such an interpretation. The last mentioned provision (section 21) is helpful in another respect, namely, it indicates a legislative intention to confine the application of the Act, (in relation to ships) to cases where the owner or agent of the ship resides or carries on business in India.

1. Section 15.

2. Act 15 of 1933 (amending the Workmen's Compensation Act), see para. 1B.12, infra.

3. See para. 1B.2, infra.

4. Section 21(1), proviso, see para. 1B.26, infra.

Workmens Compensation Act, 1923 Back

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