The Madras high court ruled on Wednesday that elderly parents of the deceased are also eligible for compensation under the Workmen Compensation Act.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, the Madurai Bench pronounced the judgment while dismissing a petition from the wife of the deceased, Thilagavathi, who claimed that she and her two children, both majors, were entitled to the entire compensation amount.
Her husband, Subramaniyan, was a machine operator at Sakthi Sugar Mills at Sivaganga where he suffered an injury and later, succumbed.
The Tribunal had passed an order to compensate Thilaganvathi with Rs 5.75 lakh, as per Section 22 of the Workmen Compensation Act, which had to be finalised in December. However, because both the children were major, they were ruled out of the dependent status, based on an enquiry report to ascertain the deceased’s real dependants.
Subramniyan’s parents meanwhile were included in the dependants’ list and the money was to be divided proportionately between them and Thilagavathi.
Unhappy with the decision, Thilagavathi approached the High Court. She based her case on the fact that as per the Act, dependants include the widow, a minor (legitimate or adopted) son, unmarried (legitimate or adopted) daughter or a widowed mother. Citing that Subramaniyan’s mother was not a widow, Thilagavathi argued that compensation should not go to her parents-in-law.
Subraminiyan’s parents contended that they were dependant on their deceased son and also revealed that Thalagavathi had not been living with their son for the past two years. It was citing this, and the fact that the expenses for Subramaniyan’s treatment had been borne by his father and not his wife, Justice S Vaidyanathan ruled that the authorities’ decision to name parents as dependants was valid.
Justice Vaidyanathan had been notified of the petition last month, and he said that there was nothing wrong in adding the parents of the deceased as dependants, as they would fall under the purview of Sec. 2(1)(d)(iii)(b) of the Workmen Compensation Act which included “a parent other than a widowed mother”.