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Category of employees covered under the benefits of the Act - The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948

One Atta Mohammed and eight others are employees of the respondent- management. All these workmen are employed through a contractor. The employer used to pay the bills submitted by the employees. They worked for more than ten years during 1972-1983. The ESI Inspector also submitted his report that during the inspection conducted by him all the workers were found working in the factory under direct supervision of the employer. The respondent-management declined to cover the workmen under the ESI Act and denied the benefit under the Act which was challenged by the workmen before Employees Insurance Court, Patiala. The Court held that the respondent workmen are employees of the appellant within the meaning of Section 2(9) of the Act. The order passed by the Employees Insurance Court was challenged before the High Court by the appellants who reversed the order of Employees Insurance Court which has resulted into the present appeal.

The Court dealt with the issue whether the workmen- respondents are covered under the definition of Section 2(9) of the ESI Act in view the contention of the appellant that payment to the respondents was being made on piece rate basis.

The Court observed that the Employees State Insurance Inspector has submitted his report stating clearly that the respondent- workmen were working at the factory premises at the time of inspection. It has also been observed by the Court that the workmen- respondents have worked for more than ten years. The mode by which they were paid is very much covered under the definition of Section 2(22) of the Act. However, the High Court', without examining the evidence and the reasoning employed by the Employees Insurance Court in a perfunctory manner reversed the findings of Employees Insurance Court which it should not have. The findings recorded by the High Court are clearly perverse and cannot be said to be in accordance with law. The impugned order of High Court set aside and appeal allowed.

-S.C. CLR I 2018 P.608, Employees' State Insurance Corporation v. Hindustan Milk food Manufacturers Ltd. & Others


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