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Court compensates widow for husband killed on duty

A labour court here has awarded Rs. 5,32,800 as compensation to a 52-year-old widow in connection with the murder of her husband while he was driving a tanker of his employer in 2012.

Labour court Commissioner B Y Phad directed the two respondents — Jagdeep Singh Bakhrawar Singh of Jaideep Transport from Bhiwandi and Reliance General Insurance company — to jointly and severally pay the compensation to Surinder Kaur, with 12 per cent interest per annum from the date of murder on May 7, 2012.

He also ordered Jaideep Transport to pay a penalty of Rs. 2.63 lakh to the woman.

Advocate S C Bodulla, appearing for Surinder Kaur, informed the court that her husband Jagjit Singh was employed with Jaideep Transport and earning Rs 8,000 as monthly salary.

On May 1, he started driving the tanker from Mumbai to Punjab to deliver some chemical. On May 7, Jagjit was allegedly killed by some unidentified person, who hit him with a blunt object on his head and his body was left in the tanker’s cabin at Bhiwani in Haryana, Bodulla said.

The deceased’s wife said both the respondents were liable to pay her a compensation of Rs. 5,32,800.

However, the two respondents contested the claim saying it was a case of murder and not an accident.

Referring to rulings of various courts, Bodulla said the murder of an employee during the course of employment amounts to accidental death arising out of employment.

The Commissioner, in his order, said as per the facts of the present case, the deceased was found dead in the cabin of the tanker and it transpired that the death was caused by injuries caused by a blunt object. Accordingly, police registered a case under section 302 (murder) of IPC.

“It is clear that it is a case of murder of deceased by some unknown person. Therefore, it cannot be said that the assailant was having dominant intention to kill the deceased.

“Thus I am of opinion that it cannot be ruled out that the murder of deceased was an accidental murder while the deceased was acting in the course of employment of opponent transporter and his death arose out of employment,” he said.

“Hence both the opponents are liable to pay the amount of compensation,” the Commissioner said in a recent order.

The court also observed it was evident that inspite of notice given to the opponents, they failed to deposit the compensation amount.

The opponent no. 1 (transport company) is not justified in causing delay in depositing the compensation amount on the ground that the vehicle was insured with the opponent no. 2 (Reliance General Insurance company).

Therefore, the court ruled that Jaideep Transport was liable to pay a penalty of Rs. 2.63 lakh to the widow.

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