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DOCTRINE OF NOTIONAL EXTENSION THEORY WITH REFERENCE TO CASE LAWS

Updated: Jul 10

Author: Stuti Bisht, IV year of B.A.,LL.B from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad.


ABSTRACT

In any industrial society problems regarding labour and its management, the problematic relations between employers and employee, the security of labours are some of the issues that are still prevailing. It thus becomes an essential step to provide social insurance or to give adequate protection from any such losses which are cause to the labourers by accidents which are arising during the course of employment.


Employees Compensation Act, 1923 and Employees State Insurance Act are one of such acts which came into existence to curb down the social security problems prevailing in industrial system in our country in order to provide benefit to the labourers. The doctrine of notional extension is one of such theory that prescribes the compensation which is to be paid to the employees when any accident arises during the course of employment but the real motive of adopting this theory was to include within its ambit the injury and danger which is caused due to the reason of employment but not necessarily at the workplace at working hours or while coming to and from the place of employment.


This article is penned down to provide a detailed research of the applicability of this theory for the benefit of the employees and to also compare its applicability with laws of foreign countries which can provide a scope of improvement in the laws of our country. The purpose of this research is to figure out the maximum threshold of protection that will be provided by an employer to his workman during his course of employment.


INTRODUCTION

The social security system of India comprises several schemes, laws and regulations which are spread throughout India which grants government funds, pensions, gratuity to employers. The Employees Compensation Act 1923 and The Employees State Insurance Act 1948 is also regarded as such type of laws which provides social-security to employees and thus introduced the “Doctrine of Notional Extension.”Under this legislation it becomes legal responsibility of an employer to provide damages to their employees, their family members at time of situations where injuries inflicted during working hours and in the workplace.It could be easily determined that accident took place during employment and during working hours in workplace but real issue is that whenever an injury do not occur during employment hours in the workplace then employee would be entitled to compensation or not.


Sect. 3(1) of Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923- “injury should be caused to workmen by any accident which arises out of and in the course of employment.” The “course of employment” also continues after employee left his actual place of work as doctrine of notional extension also includes entry and exit time and space.


In S.A.I.L., Rourkela Plant v. Kanchanbala Mohantyemployee had an accident while going to his house which resulted in his death due to a construction work in the route. The actual residence was very far away from the area where accident took place and court observed that - “doctrine of notional extension will apply when a person going to or coming from his residence to the place of work in this case employee adopted a route which was not normal thus not compensated.”


Sec. 2(8) Employees State Insurance Acta personal injury to an employee caused by accident or an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of his employment, being an insurable employment, whether the accident occurs or the occupational disease is contracted within or outside the territorial limits of India”.


Employeein course of employment suffered any occupational disease will also be compensated.Whenever an employee is injured by any accident he had he supposed to give notice in writing and this has to be soon after the practicable occurrence of the incident which will include name and address of the employee who is injured, date of accident and the cause of injury. There is also a medical examination offered by the employer to the employee who is injured and has given notice of such accident to the employer.


Theory of added peril is contrary to the doctrine of notional extension because added parallel gives benefit to the employer but notional extension provides benefit to the employee.”This theory provides essential advantages to the workers who work in any organization.


RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This research is holistic in nature and it involves an ample amount of collection of data from several resources to receive deeper understanding. The study is “Doctrinal Research” wherein the comparative study is also between the concept of Notional extension theory under Employees Compensation Act, 1923 and The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948.


As Doctrinal method is generally considered to be a two-part process, as it involves first locating of the various sources of law and then focusing on interpreting and analysing the texts therefore first part of the doctrinal research deals with locating the sources which will involve in-depth analysis of concept notional extension theory, its applicability, exceptions and then interpretation and critical analysis will be done with reference to several provisions, case laws, comparing shortcomings with other countries.


RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Whether the applicability of “Doctrine of notional extension” is same under the Workmen Compensation Act, 1923 and Employees State Insurance Act, 1948?

Whether there is any comparison in the position of Doctrine of Notional Extension applicable to employees between India and other foreign countries?


RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

  • To understand the applicability of doctrine of notional extension under both the Acts and critically analysing the concept.

  • To understand the international perspective of this theory and to provide comparative analysis of applicability of India and UK and USA.

  • To provide judicial interpretation of several terms and benefits attached to these employees and workmen under these acts related to this doctrine.

  • To figure out that utmost safeguard is given to employees or not under defined limits of organization during the “course of employment.”

  • To understand cases where the compensation is paid to employer when accident occurs during the course of his duty and also to understand the areas where employer is not liable to pay compensation.


LITREATURE REVIEW


  • S.N MISHRA. LABOUR AND INDUSTRIAL LAWS

This book provided me with thorough knowledge of the concept of compensation benefits provided to the employee during his course of employment. This book has briefly explained all the provisions of Employees State insurance act and Employees compensation act with its applicability and through various case laws. Though the theory of doctrine of notional extension is not explained in both the acts but the book gives immense knowledge about this concept through which I was able to strive conclusions and opinions regarding the compensation provided to the employee during his course of employment.


  • DOCTRINE OF NOTIONAL EXTENSION: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS BETWEEN INDIA, U.K AND U.S.

This article explains in brief regarding the doctrine of notional extension in India and the premises rule in U.S and employees compensation in U.K. With the help of this article I was able to understand the point of differences and similarities in these three countries. Brief idea about the benefits provided to the employees in the foreign countries and how some instances of Workmen Compensation Act is adopted from UK legislation for the purpose of benefits to be provided to the employees. This article helped me to understand that in many instances the theory followed in India and US is similar whereas there are several exceptions, rules provided in the UK and it is somehow different from the theory adopted in India and in India this theory is liberal interpretation while in UK strictly interpreted.


  • JUDICIAL INTERPRETATION OF THE EXPRESSION ARISING OUT OF AND IN THE COURSE OF EMPLOYMENT

This article explains the term wise concept in an exhaustive manner; it literally interpreted all the terms used in this doctrine. This article gives a brief idea regarding extensions of work premises, employment hours and course of employment. Several judgments lay down by Supreme Court and High Court is provided in this article very extensively. This article helped to frame several opinions that how this doctrine is beneficial to workers and especially to the weaker section of the society.


DISCUSSION/ CRITICAL ANALYSIS WITH CASE LAWS

For compensation to be paid by the employer to the employee there are three essential tests.


1. Occurrence of accident.


2. Accident should be “arising out of” and during the “course of employment.”

In Indian news chronicle versus Mrs Lazarus employee died because of pneumonia as during the course of his employment he had to frequently go to heating room from a cooling point the court held that the injury was caused by an accident in the instant case and it is not considered to be a physical injury as the injury was because he was moving for working purpose at his workplace from heated room to cooling point.


3. The accident should result in such disability which is temporary or permanent, partial or total, or death.

Burden of proof lies on the claimant to prove that accident “arose out of and in the course of employment.”Arising out of employment does not refers to personal injury but inflicted due to employment. Employee supposed to show that the injury was during employers business and he was doing nothing for his own benefit.


There exception to this theory that whenever an accident occurs in public area and risks suffered by workmen is not because of his employment but because he was a public member then employer will not be liable to pay compensation only if it can be shown that the employee acted on the direction of employer.


There is an issue in application of ratio judgement to cases under above three tests, the difference should be considered between “judgement in rem and personam.”


This doctrine has given liberal rule of interpretation as employer liable to pay compensation even in cases he was not directly at fault. There is no specification as to what are the ‘necessary precautions,’ what acts to be performed by the employee or employer, compensation which is to be paid in several different circumstances or about gravity of accident occurred. The ‘compensation’ is expressly defined under Employees Compensation Act and but it is not expressly stated under Employees State Insurance Act.


CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF CASE LAWS

The judiciary expanded the scope of this doctrine and laid down several interpretations in this regard, specifically they laid down “liberal interpretation” for the term “in course of employment”.

State of Rajasthan vs. Ram prasad and another

In this case the employee was dead due to thunderstorm in employment site. The Hon’ble SC held that it is essential to have “casual connection” between incident which happened and employ activities only in such situation the employee would be entitled to compensation. The employer will also be subjected to liability in the cases of natural calamities if it was caused due to the employment activity in such case the employer Smt. Geeta had to compensate the family of the death employee and further it was stated that the employer was present on the site where this thunder happened because of his employment activity.


Analysis

The interpretation of the term in course of employment is very liberally interpreted as in the case of “natural calamity”the employer was subjected to compensate employee. Calamities are the act of God and happening or non happening is not in the hands of a person if this employee was not present in the employment area or because of his employment purpose still he would have been subjected to death because of this lightning as it was a natural calamity and it can happen at any place at any time which is not in the hands of a human being. Calamity would have resulted in the death of the employer also and before assigning work to the employee it cannot be predicted by an employer that such natural calamity could happen in that employment area or during working hours. Thus, doctrine should be interpreted in such a manner which may not harm the employer providing the compensation.


Public Works Department vs. Kaunsa Gokul

In this case jamadar gang while going for collecting their salary of labourers from the office of PWD was murdered on his way at location where he waited and waited for taking his meals. Further, he was found dead at a considerable distance from place where other members of his gang were working on the road. Court held - “the death of Gokul was an accident arising out of his employment because the accident would not have happened if he had not been engaged in that employment.”


Analysis

Above stated was the opinion according to which the judgement was laid down but as per my opinion in this case this theory should not have been made applicable liberally as the employee could have been murdered because of his own personal reasons and just not because he was working during his course of employment.


Though he was in the way to reach his employment premises and his dead body was found nearby but the murderer would have found the easiest way possible to commit this murder and if it was not for personal reasons the murdered could have also killed some other employee of the jamadar gang who were with deceased.Therefore, it’s a loss situation for an employer to pay compensation in such cases where murder was unpredictable and no way related to the employment.


Savitri Devi vs. Bharti filling station and another

In this case the claimant son was working as a driver with the defendant (tanker's owner) and while he was on his duty his death incurred. The claim for compensation was denied by the defendant on the ground that there was no such connection between the death and the work of the deceased. Later, the Commissioner dismissed this petition filed for the purpose of compensation. Further, High Court held that the commissioner wrongfully concluded that there was no connection between work and death of the deceased as the very fact that the deceased was working as a driver and that too of oil tanker his job was full of stress and strain.


Analysis

If the deceased was not present at the time of his employment hours in the oil tanker for the employment purpose it would not have resulted in his death as he would not have sustain such stress and strain during his employment hours therefore such compensation is the liability of the employer which is to be paid to the family of the deceased.


Trustees Tort of Bombay vs. Yamunabai

There was a bomb placed in the workshop premises which later explode and resulted in injury to employee. Further, court held that - “employee was not responsible for placing any such bomb but the injury was caused due to explosion which was during the time and place at which he was employed therefore such injury was the result of accident which arrived out of his employment and employee received compensation.”


Analysis

The rule also prescribes that - “If any particular accident would not have happened to an employee had he not been employed to work in the particular place and condition it would be accident arising out of the employment.”


Similarly if employees would be working in factories and was injured due to crashing down of any aircraft it will be considered to be an injury that occurred during the course of employment of such employees as they are not answerable for aircraft crash and they were exposed to this risk because they were in the place of accident reasonof their employment. In such cases the compensation is to be paid by the employer to the employee as he was exposed to the danger because of their employment.


Works Manager Carriage and Wagon Shop, E.I.R vs. Mahabir

There was an employee named Mahabir lives in Malhaur and travels from Malhaur to Lucknow station in an employee's special-train. Travel from Lucknow station to Alambagh workshop was 1 mile away from the railway station and was regarded as the shortest route possible and one day after finishing his duty at 5:30 a.m he was just short distance from station platform and unfortunately he was run over by shunting engine at 6:30 a.m. His legs were crashed and it was held that “accident arouse out of and in the course of employment”. The interpretation was laid down of the words ‘work’ or ‘duty’ as according to the meaning prescribed in Sec. 3(1) of the Employees Compensation Act.


Analysis

The expression “in the course of employment” not refers only to the actual work that any employee is performing but also within a course of service the works assigned to him, place of work, employment hours.From this we may refer to “environmental accidents” that is accidents which results from the area where employee is working and from area he reached to his place of actual work for performing his obligations towards his employer will also fall within the expression “arising out of and in the course of employment.”There is an exception that whenever accidents occur in any public place which was not due to his employment purpose the employer will not be liable to pay compensation but in this case the employee was in that location because of his purpose of employment there he was subjected to be paid compensation.


COMPARISION BETWEEN INDIA, U.S AND U.K

India follows the doctrine of notional extension which talks about employees if they inflict any injury during the “course of employment” and employment does not end when they leaves their work premises rather than it includes the area where the workmen passes while going through or leaving their actual place of work. So in India the position is adopted by Indian judgements according to two acts


Workmen Compensation Act 1923 and Employee State Insurance Act.”Whereas, US follows “Premises rule” that refers that injury caused to the employee must be within the employment period and its location should be reasonable for the employee for the purpose of fulfilling his duties. It does not mean that employee will actually doing his job rather than it would be in the working hours when the injury occurs is compensable.


“The position in UK also covers the injury that has been caused in the course of employment but the employment will begin when he arrives his actual place of work and it ends when leaves the place of work.”So, UK is completely opposite to the theory laid down in India as India also includes going in and going out of the work premises but U.K excludes this and also had laid down for the several exception where this employee’s compensation benefit will not be included.


POSITION IN U.S

A worker who gets injury may receive benefits of compensation when injury occurs only out of an in course of employment. “It also ensures that there should be casual connection between work and injury”.


This theory in U.S is known as Premises Rule.The burden of proof is on employee that he sustained injury during working hours.There is a requirement to show that the injury occurred in the course of employment during the employment hours andin a location which is reasonable for the employee to be in that place while they were performing their work duties. “In US it is not the purpose of workers compensation to protect the employee from the risk of travel all the US courts have reached the compromise that an employee having fixed hours of work and going to are coming from work generally is covered by workers compensation if such injury occurs on the employer's premises.”


In Heim v. Longview fibre co.plaintiff was driving motorcycle from the usual exit from his employer’spremises but there a co-worker turning towards the premises hit the plaintiff resulting in his death. The exact location of this accident was just less than 5 feet from employer’s premises which was on a public access road to the plant used by company personnel. Court held -“the injury did not arise in the course of employment and denied death benefits however, employer injured of work promises may still recover damages in tort against any person whose negligence cause them harm.”


The courts in U.S also extended the harshness of Premises Rule by including injuries that will occur within a reasonable distance from employers premises and several court also recognise the compensation of any injury that will occur in the employers premises whenever “an employee is going to or coming from his work and where such trip itself is a substantial part of employee service to the employer it will be compensable.”Further, in the case of Urban vs. Industrial Commissionan employee was a travelling salesperson who died in a car accident while he was driving to his residence however the evidence which was depicted was unclear and he was not actually returning home so Court ruled that death to be compensable.


POSITION IN U.K

There is a scheme of compensation in U.K to the workers and their family members in situations where they sustained and injury, death OR any severe illness because of any negligence, carelessness or inadequate training in the workplace.


There are several regulations framed in order to protect the employees during such hazardous accident prone areas during their working hours. When such injuries are sustained anattorney will be assessing, will review to the degree of injury in terms of out-of-work-pay and as they will be compensated in view of that.

specific methods for receiving such compensation benefits:-


There are several exceptions imposed by the UK legislation such as:-

  • Travelling transportation provided by the employer.

  • Travelling in Public transport will not be considered.

  • Travelling any particular journey, instructed by his employer.

  • Travelling in employer's property or any such area where the public is deprived of entrance.

  • Travelling during peripatetic condition


CONCLUSONS AND RECCOMENDATIONS

The theory of Notional extension is regarded to be a “friendly concept” for employees as it provides them compensation benefits during their employment period and also gives them a financial assistance when they suffered loss because of the death of any bread earner of the family. In these cases liberal interpretation is made by the court to provide aid to the employees. However, in several cases the claims have not reached the court and employers have received benefit in this regard. Applicable only to limited sections of the society such as those working in factories, mines, industries considering their social and economic conditions with a notion to provide justice to the weaker sections of the society.


This theory also includes the penalties provided, or the review of the injury which is caused to the employees, the medical examination to be done of employees after the practical injury occurred and also cases of delay in payment of compensation so moreover this theory is complete in itself and is also providing justice to the depriving sections of the society but everything contains flaws for which recommendation are stated below.


  • While providing compensation the financial condition of the employers and the steps that employee and employer both could have taken to avoid such incidents should also be overlooked.

  • It should be clearly defined what measures employee could have adopted to avoid such incident and whether the case was such serious that could not be avoided in such situation only then accused should be held faulty to pay the compensation.

  • The compensation should not be made to be paid just because of the fact that happened in the course of employment or during entry and exit of the employer's premises but several other personal reason should also be overlooked which caused the accident to the employee such as murder of employee due to his own revenge with the murderer during employment hours.

  • The employee will be compensated where injury“arises out and in the course of employment” but precautions could be very different if while entry or exit from the work premises the employee himself deviated from the root for his own purpose and any mishap happened with him this will not be the liability of the employer but there is no such specification laid down in this theory as to what extend the entry and exit of the workers premises will be included or what measures will be adopted to overlook that this accident happened near by the employers premises or due to employment purpose and not with any other reason.

  • It could be made crystal clear that this theory is biased towards the employee as it was derived to provide benefit to them only but in several cases it’s partial towards them an employer may face loss in compensating the employee where accidents could have been avoided. This theory should be enhanced, if we consider the present pandemic situation which is prevailing in our country our workmen's are facing several difficulties daily and it is not only the working class but also the business class which is facing several difficulties that is suffered during in this pandemic. Employers and employees both are suffering so the theory should be enhanced in such a way that would be beneficial to both employer and employee.


REFERENCES

  • B. Sai Kumar, ESI - Accident arising out of and in the course of employment" Buisness Manager, (Feb. 15, 2021), https://www.businessmanager.in/esi-accident-arising-out-of-and-in-the-course-of-employment.php.

  • Legal Obligation on Employer to Pay Compensation, Law Teacher, https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/contract-law/legal-obligation-on-employer-to-pay-compensation-contract-law-essay.php?vref=1. 2019

  • S.N MISHRA. LABOUR AND INDUSTRIAL LAWS, (Central Law Publications 29th edn. 2019)

  • Moger, Seetaram, Notional extension of employment Buisness Manager, (Feb. 10, 2021), https://www.businessmanager.in/notional-extension-of-employment.php.

  • Sylona Mohapatra, Doctrine of Notional Extension: A Comparative Analysis between India, U.K and U.S, http://corporatelawreporter.com/2013/11/27/doctrine-of-notional-extension/ 2013

  • Shreya Prabhudesai, Judicial interpretation of the expression arising out of and in the course of employment, http://www.grkarelawlibrary.yolasite.com/resources/SM-Jul14Lab-3-Shreya.pdf

  • S.C., SRIVASTAVA, INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND LABOUR LAWS, (Vikas Publishing House, 7th Edn.