The dependants have full rights to receive entitlements occurring due to natural death while an employee dies during office hours. The ESIS has not been treating natural deaths like heart attack to have been caused due to stress and strain of employment and therefore such claims have been rejected. The Bombay high court ruled that natural death too is an employment injury under ESIS and entitled for all claims.
This ruling regarding employment injury under ESIS is sure to help many who have been denied the due claims from such natural deaths. In the recent ruling given by Bombay High court having far reaching implications, it has decided that under Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIS) Act, accident that arose in the course of an person’s employment, it is to be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the accident has arisen out of that employment and the dependents are entitled to get the benefits.
Section 51A of ESIS Act
Section 51A which was added by Amendment Act No.44 of 1966 provides thus : “51-A Presumption as to accident arising in course of employment. For the purposes of this Act, an accident arising in the course of an insured person’s employment shall be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, also to have arisen out of that employment.”
Natural death also an employment injury under ESIS
The Bombay High Court has ordered Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIS) to pay within a month the claim amount to a 40-year-old housewife whose husband died of cardiac arrest in a factory.
The order was passed by justices K R Sriram and V M Kanade, on September 5, on a petition filed by the widow of Bharguram Mahadik, who worked as a fitter on a meagre salary of Rs 6,000 with Dhanwantari Engineers Pvt Ltd. Bharguram was registered with ESIS scheme. On March 27 last year, he complained of chest pain and his colleagues took him to a resting area within the factory premises and asked him to rest for a while. As his condition worsened, he was rushed to the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation at Vashi.
The provisional cause of death in the certificate issued on the same day mentioned that the insured was “brought dead” to the Hospital. The Insured was declared as dead by the Medical Officer of NMMC Hospital and the cause of death was mentioned as “Acute Myocardial Infarction”. At the time of death he was about 50 years old.
The employer of the insured raised a claim for the dependents under the ESI Act on April 11, 2012 but it was rejected by ESIS on May 14. One of the ground said that the deceased cannot be treated as an employee under the ESIS Act.
The ESIS refused to pay the claim, saying that the injury sustained by the employee cannot be treated as an Employment injury under the Act. It further said the insured person had died of natural causes and the death was not related to stress and strain of work.
Husband died due to heart attack
The entire defence of the respondents is that the petitioner’s husband died due to heart attack and it is not an employment injury.
The court used the same argument against the ESIS stating that there is no controversy with regard to the death of the petitioner’s husband other than the one stated by the petitioner and the medical report relied by both the parties, presumption under Section 51-A of the Act squarely applies to the facts of this case and it has to be held that the death of the petitioner’s husband has happened only during the course of the employment and in the factory premises/rest room, by applying Notional Extension Theory. The petitioner is therefore, entitled to get the dependents’ benefits.
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