Reached Daily Limit?

Explore a new way of legal research!

Click Here
Indian Case Summary

General Manager, B. E. S. … vs Mrs. Agnes on 10 May, 1963 – Case Summary

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In the case of General Manager, B. E. S. T. Undertaking, Bombay vs Mrs. Agnes, the Supreme Court of India delivered a significant judgment on May 10, 1963, which revolved around the interpretation of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923. The case was presided over by Justice K. Subbarao and the bench included Justices Raghubar Dayal and J.R. Mudholkar.

Facts of the Case

The case involved a bus driver, P. Nanu Raman, employed by the Bombay Municipal Corporation’s transport service, managed by the Bombay Electricity Supply and Transport Committee. After completing his day’s work, Raman boarded a bus to return home. Unfortunately, the bus met with an accident, resulting in injuries that led to Raman’s death. His widow, Mrs. Agnes, sought compensation through the Court of the Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation, claiming that her husband’s death was a result of an accident that occurred “out of and in the course of his employment.”

Issues Raised

The central issue was whether the accident that led to Raman’s death occurred during the course of his employment. This hinged on the interpretation of Section 3 (1) of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923, which states, “If personal injury is caused to a workman by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment, his employer shall be liable to pay compensation in accordance with the provision of this chapter.”

Court’s Observations and Judgment

The court, in its judgment, held that a bus driver is given the facility to travel in any bus belonging to the undertaking, not as a grace, but as a right for the efficiency of the service. This right was considered a condition of his service, and there was an implied obligation on his part to travel in the said buses as part of his duty.

The court also noted that the doctrine of reasonable or notional extension of employment, developed in the context of specific workshops, factories, or harbours, applies to such a bus service. The doctrine needs to be adapted to meet its peculiar requirements. In the case of a city transport service, the entire fleet of buses forming the service would be the “premises.”

The majority of the bench (Justices Subba Rao and Mudholkar) held that the accident occurred to Nanu Raman during the course of his employment, and therefore, Mrs. Agnes was entitled to compensation. However, Justice Raghubar Dayal disagreed, stating that Rule 19 cannot be construed as a condition of service of the bus drivers of the corporation and, therefore, cannot artificially extend the period of their duty and, consequently, the course of employment by the time occupied in travelling by the bus.

This case is significant as it broadened the interpretation of “course of employment” under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923, particularly in the context of city transport services. It underscored the fact that the facilities provided to an employee for the efficiency of the service, such as the right to travel in any bus belonging to the undertaking, can be considered as part of the employee’s duty.