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NOTIONAL EXTENSION OF EMPLOYER’S PREMISES IN LABOUR LAW

INTRODUCTION

The term ‘notional extension’ refers to the hypothetical or imaginary extension of the employment premises or employment period in certain cases, to provide compensation and similar benefits to the employee. In the pre-independence times, there were many problems related to social security faced by workers. This led to the enactment of the Employees State Insurance Act 1948[1] and the Employees Compensation Act 1923[2].

The Employees Compensation Act 1923[3] provides that if any personal injury is caused to the employee arising out of or in the course of employment then his employer shall be liable to pay compensation. Section 2(8) of the Employees State Insurance Act 1948[4] provides a similar notional extension of employment provisions for the employees who are insured under the act and sustain any injury or damage during their employment. These two provisions led to the development of the “doctrine of notional extension of employer’s premises”. The doctrine mainly provides for the extension of the premises of the employer when the accident or injury suffered is attributable to the risks involved in the employment or when there is sufficient nexus between the situations.

CODE ON SOCIAL SECURITY 2020

The doctrine of notional extension of the employer’s premises is also provided under Section 74(4) of the Code on Social Security 2020[5]. According to this, if an accident or injury is caused to the employee while commuting from his place of residence to the place of employment or vice-versa shall be considered to have arisen in the course of his employment only, if some rational nexus could be drawn between the cause of accident or injury and the terms or the risks associated with the employment.

EXCEPTIONS

Although this doctrine provides for the extension of the premises and the time of employment so that the employer could be held liable to provide compensation to the employee but there are a few exceptions to it:

  1. If a person suffers from a disability for less than three days.
  2. The employee was intoxicated and suffered an injury because of that.
  3. If the employee disobeys his master’s orders regarding safety.
  4. When the worker removes the safety equipment.
  5. When the injury occurs in a public area and the risk suffered is not because of his employment.

CASE LAWS

In the matter of TNCS Corporation Limited v S. Poomalai[6], an employee died in a communal riot on his way to his employment premises. The court extended his premises of employment and held the Corporation liable to pay compensation to his wife.

In the case of Leela Bai v Seema Chauhan[7], a bus driver was having his meal on the top of the bus. The driver fell off the bus and died. The Supreme Court held it to be an accident in the course of his employment, by using the principle of ‘notional extension of employer’s premises’.

In the case of Manju Sarkar v Mabish Mian[8], a truck driver met an accident on his way to get the truck repaired. The court held the truck owner liable to pay the compensation and the injury was held to have arisen during his employment.

In the matter of Varadarajulu Naidu v Masaya Boyen[9], the transport provided by the employer was the only means of conveyance in the hilly areas. The court considered it as a part of the premises of the employment.

In the case of St. Helen’s Colliery Co. Ltd. v Hewlston[10], the employee of the Company suffered injuries while traveling in the colliery transportation, whose passes were given to the employees, and wages were deducted for the same. The court refused to consider it as a part of the premises of employment and refused to apply the principle of ‘notional extension of the employer’s premises.

In General Manager, BEST Undertaking v Agnes case[11], a bus driver after completing his shift took another bus of the Corporation under which he was employed and met an accident. The court held that the “notional extension of employer’s premises” principle was not applicable in this case.

In the case of Rajanna v Union of India[12], a security guard was employed under SPG Security. He met an accident while traveling in the Corporation’s bus. The court extended the Corporation’s premises and held it liable to pay compensation to the victim.

In S.S. Manufacturing Company v Bai Vehraja’s case[13], there was an employee who took a ferry from the company after leaving his work to go back home. The court held that the Company cannot be held liable for the accident as the employee suffered injuries after the completion of his working hours.

In the matter of Weaver v Tredegar Iron Ore Company[14], the workers were working in a pit and had an exclusive railway platform. One of the workers got injured by the approaching train. The court utilized the principle of ‘notional extension of employer’s premises’ and held the Company liable.

In the case of General Manager Western Railways v. Chandra Bai[15], there was an employee who was going to attend to his duty from his residence. On the way, he had an accident and died. The court applied the principle of notional extension of the employer’s premises and ordered compensation to the family of the deceased.

CONCLUSION

The doctrine of notional extension of the employer’s premises provides for the hypothetical or imaginary extension of the premises of the employer when there is a nexus between the reason for the accident or injury and the employment. This doctrine has been applied by the Indian courts in several cases to provide compensation and benefits to employees when their injury or damage is attributable to their employment. However, there are certain exceptions to this doctrine, like when a person willfully abstains from using the safety devices or is intoxicated, etc. Earlier provisions related to this doctrine were available under the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1923[16] and the Employees State Insurance Act 1948[17] and now, this doctrine is provided under Section 74(4) of the new labor code i.e., Code on Social Security 2020[18].

Author(s) Name: Leezer Kaur (Army Institute of Law, Mohali)

References:

[1] Employees State Insurance Act 1948

[2] Employees Compensation Act 1923

[3] Employees Compensation Act 1923, s 3

[4] Employees State Insurance Act 1948, s 2(8)

[5] Code on Social Security 2020, s 74(4)

[6] TNCS Corporation Limited v S. Poomalai (1995) I LLJ 378

[7] Leela Bai v Seema Chouhan (2019) 4 SCC 325

[8] Manju Sarkar v Mabish Mian (2014) INSC 431

[9] Varadarajulu Naidu v Masaya Boyen (1954) II LLJ 426

[10] St. Helen’s Colliery Co. Ltd. v Hewlston (1924) A.C. 59

[11] General Manager, BEST Undertaking v Agnes (1964) 3 SCR 930

[12] Rajanna v Union of India (1995) Supp (2) SCC 601

[13] Saurashtra Salt Manufacturing Co. v Bai Valu Raja (1954) SCC OnLine Guj 4

[14] Weaver v Tredegar Iron Ore Company (1940) 3 All ER 157

[15]General Manager, Western Railway v Chandrabai (1991) SCC OnLine MP 44

[16] Workmen’s Compensation Act 1923

[17] Employees State Insurance Act 1948

[18] Code on Social Security 2020, s 74(4)