whether the employee met with an accident, whether the accident occurred during the course of employment, whether it arose out of an employment, how and in what manner the accident occurred, who was negligent in causing the accident, whether there existed any relationship of employee and employer, what was the age and monthly salary of the employee, how many are the dependents of the deceased employee, the extent of disability caused to the employee due to injuries suffered in an accident, whether there was any insurance coverage obtained by the employer to cover the incident etc. are some of the material issues which arise for the just decision of the Commissioner in a claim petition when an employee 4 suffers any bodily injury or dies during the course of his employment and he/his LRs sue/s his employer to claim compensation under the Act.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL No.7470 OF 2009
North East Karnataka Road
Transport Corporation ….Appellant(s)
VERSUS
Smt. Sujatha …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1. This appeal is directed against the final
judgment and order dated 29.11.2006 passed by
the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in M.F.A.
No.4170 of 2002 whereby the High Court dismissed
the appellant’s appeal and confirmed the order
dated 23.04.2002 passed by the Commissioner for
1
Workmen’s Compensation (Labour Court), Bellary
(hereinafter referred to as “the Commissioner”).
2. The issue involved in this appeal lies in a
narrow compass. It is clear from the facts
mentioned hereinbelow.
3. One Mallikarjuna was an employee of the
appellant­a State Road Transport Corporation for
the State of Karnataka working as a driver. He died
while he was on duty on 06.04.1999 when he felt
pain in his chest and suffered heart attack.
4. The respondent is the wife of deceased
Mallikarjuna. The respondent filed a claim petition
before the Commissioner under the Workmen’s
Compensation Act, 1923 (for short “the Act”)
claiming compensation for the death of her husband
Mallikarjuna. The appellant (employer) contested
the claim petition.
5. By order dated 23.04.2002, the Commissioner
allowed the claim petition and awarded a sum of
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Rs.3,79,120/­ with a direction to the appellant to
deposit the awarded sum within 45 days, failing
which, the awarded amount would carry interest at
the rate of 12% per annum.
6. The employer (appellant herein) felt aggrieved
and filed appeal in the High Court of Karnataka at
Bangalore. By impugned order, the High Court
dismissed the appeal, which has given rise to filing
of this special leave to appeal by the employer in
this Court.
7. So the question, which arises for consideration
in this appeal is whether the High Court was
justified in dismissing the employer’s appeal and
thereby was justified in upholding the order of the
Commissioner.
8. None appeared for both the parties. We,
therefore, perused the record of the case. On
perusal of the record, we are inclined to modify the
order of the Commissioner dated 23.04.2002 in
3
favour of the respondent to the extent indicated
infra.
9. At the outset, we may take note of the fact,
being a settled principle, that the question as to
whether the employee met with an accident,
whether the accident occurred during the course of
employment, whether it arose out of an
employment, how and in what manner the accident
occurred, who was negligent in causing the
accident, whether there existed any relationship of
employee and employer, what was the age and
monthly salary of the employee, how many are the
dependents of the deceased employee, the extent of
disability caused to the employee due to injuries
suffered in an accident, whether there was any
insurance coverage obtained by the employer to
cover the incident etc. are some of the material
issues which arise for the just decision of the
Commissioner in a claim petition when an employee
4
suffers any bodily injury or dies during the course of
his employment and he/his LRs sue/s his employer
to claim compensation under the Act.
10. The afore­mentioned questions are essentially
the questions of fact and, therefore, they are
required to be proved with the aid of evidence. Once
they are proved either way, the findings recorded
thereon are regarded as the findings of fact.
11. The appeal provided under Section 30 of the
Act to the High Court against the order of the
Commissioner lie only against the specific orders set
out in clause (a) to (e) of Section 30 of the Act with a
further rider contained in first proviso to the Section
that the appeal must involve substantial question of
law.
12. In other words, the appeal provided under
Section 30 of the Act to the High Court against the
order of the Commissioner is not like a Regular First
Appeal akin to Section 96 of the Code of Civil
5
Procedure, 1908 which can be heard both on facts
and law. The appellate jurisdiction of the High
Court to decide the appeal is confined only to
examine the substantial questions of law arising in
the case.
13. When an employer files the appeal, he is
under a legal obligation to deposit the entire
awarded sum in terms of second proviso to Section
30 of the Act as a pre­condition to file the appeal in
the High Court except where the appeal is filed
against the order falling in clause (b).
14. It is only when the employer deposits the
entire awarded money along with the memo of
appeal duly certified by the Commissioner, his
appeal is regarded as being properly filed in
conformity with the requirement of Section 30 of the
Act.
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15. Such appeal is then heard on the question of
admission with a view to find out as to whether it
involves any substantial question of law or not.
Whether the appeal involves a substantial question
of law or not depends upon the facts of each case
and needs an examination by the High Court. If the
substantial question of law arises, the High Court
would admit the appeal for final hearing on merit
else would dismiss in limini with reasons that it does
not involve any substantial question/s of law.
16. Now coming to the facts of this case, we find
that the appeal before the High Court did not
involve any substantial question of law on the
material questions set out above. In other words, in
our view, the Commissioner decided all the material
questions arising in the case properly on the basis
of evidence adduced by the parties and rightly
determined the compensation payable to the
7
respondent. It was, therefore, rightly affirmed by the
High Court on facts.
17. In this view of the matter, the findings being
concurrent findings of fact of the two courts below
are binding on this Court. Even otherwise, we find
no good ground to call for any interference on any of
the factual findings. None of the factual findings are
found to be either perverse or arbitrary or based on
no evidence or against any provision of law. We
accordingly uphold these findings.
18. This takes us to examine the next question
which was wrongly decided by the Commissioner
and the High Court also did not notice the error
committed by the Commissioner.
19. The question relates to grant of interest on the
awarded amount and further, from which date, it is
to be awarded to the claimant (respondent).
8
20. The grant of interest on the awarded sum is
governed by Section 4­A of the Act. The question as
to when does the payment of compensation under
the Act “becomes due” and consequently what is the
point of time from which interest on such amount is
payable as provided under Section 4­A (3) of the Act
remains no more res integra and is settled by the
two decisions of this Court.
21. As early as in 1975, a four Judge Bench of this
Court in Pratap Narain Singh Deo Vs. Srinivas
Sabata & Anr. (1976) 1 SCC 289: AIR 1976SC 222
speaking through Singhal, J. has held that an
employer becomes liable to pay compensation as
soon as the personal injury is caused to the
workman in the accident which arose out of and in
the course of employment. It was accordingly held
that it is the date of the accident and not the date of
adjudication of the claim, which is material.
9
22. Another question analogues to the main
question arose before the Three Judge Bench of this
Court in the case of Kerala State Electricity Board
& Anr. Vs. Valsala K. & Anr. (1999) 8SCC 254: AIR
1999SC 3502 as to whether increased amount of
compensation and enhanced rate of interest
brought on statute by amending Act 30/1995 with
effect from 15.09.1995 would also apply to cases in
which the accident took place before 15.09.1995.
Their lordships, placing reliance on the law laid
down in Pratap Narain’s case (supra) held that
since the relevant date for determination of the rate
of compensation is the date of accident and not the
date of adjudication of the claim by the
Commissioner and hence if the accident has taken
place prior to 15.09.1995, the rate applicable on the
date of accident would govern the subject.
10
23. After these two decisions, this Court in two
cases (both by the Two Judge Bench) viz. National
Insurance Company Ltd vs. Mubasir Ahmed &
Anr. (2007) 2 SCC 349 and Oriental Insurance
Company Ltd. vs. Mohmad Nasir & Anr. (2009) 6
SCC 280 without noticing the law laid down in
Pratap Narain and Valsala cases (supra) took a
contrary view and held that payment of
compensation would fall due only after the
Commissioner’s order or with reference to the date
on which the claim application is made.
24. This conflict of view in the decisions on the
question was noticed by this Court (Two Judge
Bench) in Oriental Insurance Company Ltd vs.
Siby George and others (2012) 12 SCC 540.
Justice Aftab Alam speaking for the Bench referred
to afore­mentioned decisions and explaining the
ratio of each decision held that since the two later
11
decisions rendered in the cases of Mubasir and
Mohmad Nasir (supra) which took contrary view
without noticing the earlier two decisions of this
Court rendered in Pratap Narain and Valsala cases
(supra) by the larger Benches (combination of four
and three Judges respectively) and hence later
decisions rendered in Mubasir and Mohmad Nasir
cases (supra) cannot be held to have laid down the
correct principles of law on the question and nor
can, therefore, be treated as binding precedent on
the question.
25. In other words, the law laid down in Pratap
Narain and Valsala cases (supra) was held to hold
the field through out as laying down the correct
principle of law on the subject. The Two Judge
Bench in Oriental Insurance Company Ltd vs.
Siby George and others (supra) accordingly
followed the principle of law laid down in Pratap
12
Narain and Valsala cases (supra) and decided the
case instead of following the law laid down in
Mubasir and Mohmad Nasir cases (supra) which
was held per incuriam.
26. Now coming to the facts of this case, we find
that the Commissioner awarded the interest to the
respondents at the rate of 12% per annum on the
awarded sum but it was awarded from the expiry of
45 days from the date of order and that too, if the
appellant failed to deposit the awarded sum within
45 days.
27. In other words, if the appellant had deposited
the awarded sum within 45 days from the date of
the order then the respondent was not entitled to
claim any interest on the awarded sum, but if the
appellant had failed to deposit the awarded amount
within 45 days, then the respondent was entitled to
claim interest at the rate of 12% per annum from
the date of the order.
13
28. In our opinion, the afore­mentioned direction
of the Commissioner in awarding the interest on the
awarded sum is contrary to law laid down by this
Court in Pratap Narain’s case (supra) and hence
not legally sustainable.
29. In the light of the forgoing discussion, even
though the respondent did not challenge this
direction by filing any appeal in the High Court nor
challenged it by filing any appeal in this Court too,
yet the question being a pure question of law, this
Court with a view to do substantial justice to the
respondent consider it just and proper to modify the
order of the Commissioner in respondent’s favour so
as to make the same in conformity with the law laid
down by this Court in the above referred two
decisions (supra).
30. Accordingly and in view of the foregoing
discussion, the order of the Commissioner dated
23.04.2002 is modified in favour of the respondent
14
to the extent that the awarded sum of
Rs. 3,79,120/­ shall carry interest at the rate of
12% per annum from the date of accident i.e.
06.04.1999.
31. The Commissioner is accordingly directed to
work out the total amount payable by the appellant
to the respondent in terms of the order passed by
this Court.
32. Since no one appeared for the appellant as well
as respondent in this case, the Registry shall send a
copy of this order to the Commissioner, the
appellant and the respondent respectively within
one week.
33. The Commissioner, on receipt of the order, will
issue notice to the parties and calculate the total
amount to enable the appellant to deposit the same
within one month for being paid to the respondent
after due verification.
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34. The appeal stands accordingly disposed of with
afore­mentioned directions and modifications in the
order of the Commissioner dated 23.04.2002 passed
in case No. KAB/KNP/7/985/99.

……………………………………..J.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]

……………………………………….J.
[INDU MALHOTRA]
New Delhi;
November 02, 2018
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