The Delhi High Court has said that the kin of a employee who died at work cannot claim any compensation if the disease is not directly attributable to the employment.
The ruling in favour of the employers came in a case where Kamal Dev Sharma, Chief Cook of Delhi Sweet House, an eatery in Gole Market, collapsed and died of heart attack while preparing making sweets on a stove on March 6, 1996.
The commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation had awarded a compensation of Rs 2.11 lakh to his widow Darshana Rani and three children who contended that he had suffered the heart attack unable to bear the heat of fire as well as “unhygienic working conditions”.
The sweet house had appealed before the HC against that order, arguing death due to heart attack cannot be attributable to the employment of deceased. “Respondents ( the kin) have not been able to prove that cardiac arrest was a result of the nature of job. Since, deceased died as a result of heart attack, no liability can be fixed upon the employer”, said Justice V B Gupta allowing the appeal by the sweet home.
The judge said “mere death... by some bodily ailment or event in course of employment cannot attract liability of the employer. There should be at least a casual connection...”
Howver, deceased’s family still benefited as they were not asked to refund around Rs 1. 36 lakh which the owners had paid them before filing the appeal in High Court.