Telangana High Court Rules Apprentice can be considered as workman and are Eligible for Compensation

Telanagana High Court Restriction Welfare Fund Advocates

LI Network

Published on: December 18, 2023 at 12:44 IST

The Telangana High Court has established that an apprentice, undergoing training, can be considered a workman under the purview of the Workmen’s Compensation Act. Consequently, the court has affirmed that employers are accountable for compensating apprentices in the event of unfortunate incidents.

Justice M.G. Priyadarshini issued this directive in response to a Civil Miscellaneous Appeal filed by the employer (opposite party). The employer contested the decision of the Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation, asserting that the deceased, an apprentice/trainee at APCPDCL (Andhra Pradesh Central Power Distribution Company Limited), did not qualify as a workman.

Referring to Section 16 of the Apprentices Act, 1961, the court emphasized that employers are liable to provide compensation for injuries resulting from accidents during an apprentice’s training.

The deceased apprentice, who was electrocuted while working under the opposite party’s supervision, was thus deemed eligible for compensation under the Workmen’s Act, 1923.

The undisputed facts revealed that the deceased worked as a trainee at APCPDCL, receiving a stipend of INR 1,100. Acting on instructions from a Junior Lineman, he went to repair the LT line in Bothalapalem village, where he tragically succumbed to electrocution when the electricity was unexpectedly restored.

Following the incident, the Commissioner adjudged that the deceased’s family was entitled to compensation and awarded a sum of INR 1,19,873/-.

The employer, dissatisfied with this decision, filed an appeal (CMA740 of 2010), contending that labor laws, specifically 18(b) of the Apprentices Act, exempted apprentices from their application.

However, the court dismissed this argument, emphasizing that Section 16 of the Apprentices Act mandates employer liability for compensation, which is determined in accordance with the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

The appeal was consequently rejected by the court, which affirmed the Commissioner’s decision as just and reasonable.

The court concluded that interference was unwarranted, stating, “The appeal is devoid of merits and the same is liable to be dismissed.”

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