The Punjab & Haryana High Court ruled that an employee who suffered a disability while on duty is entitled to compensation without any adjustment against the salary payable up to the supernumerary period or till the availability of alternative employment.

The Court was hearing a Writ Petition seeking direction to the respondent, General Manager, Northern Indian Railways to pay the Petitioner, Sant Kumar immediate and adequate compensation as he was disabled permanently.

The bench Of Justice Jagmohan Bansal observed, “The respondent by instructions has implemented the 2016 Act which mandates that till the availability of alternative post, an employee suffering from disability would remain at supernumerary post and he would continue to get pay with service benefits. The respondent, despite accepting that petitioner is entitled to salary till the date of the offer of alternative post, has adjusted salary against compensation payable under 1923 Act.”

Advocate Sahir Singh Virk appeared For the Appellant and Senior Panel Counsel Narender Kumar Vashist appeared for The Respondent.

Brief Facts-

The Petitioner met with an accident while on duty as a pointsman in Northern Indian Railways. The accident resulted in the amputation of his legs. As per the Petitioner, he was suffering from 90% disability. The petitioner was offered an alternative post in February 2023, thus, up to January 2023 there was a supernumerary period. The petitioner was paid a salary up to a supernumerary period, however, the said amount was adjusted against compensation payable under the Employees Compensation Employees Act, 1923.

The Court deliberated whether the Petitioner should receive compensation under the 1923 Act along with salary until the supernumerary period, or if the pay should be adjusted against compensation payable under the 1923 Act, as contended by the respondent.

The Court noted that as per amended Rule 552(3) of 1949 Rules, in case a person is entitled to compensation under the 1923 Act, the amount of leave salary payable shall be reduced by the amount of compensation. However, the Railway Board, later clarified that a medically de-categorized railway servant should be entitled to pay scale and service benefits till the availability of an alternative post and if an employee does not accept the alternative post, he would not be entitled to regular pay scale and service benefits.

As per the Court, the Petitioner was governed by Section 20 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which provided that no Government establishment shall discriminate against any person with disability in any matter relating to employment.

The Court noted that the 1923 Act as well as the 2016 Act is a piece of beneficial legislation and the intent and purport of both the enactments is to protect the livelihood, and dignity of an employee as well as his family members and protect them from being driven to destitution.

As per the Court, the respondent, relying upon its rules which seem to be contrary to the 1923 Act and 2016 Act, had adjusted salary against compensation payable under 1923 Act.

“It is settled proposition of law that Rules can supplement statutory provisions but cannot supplant the statutory provisions. The Rules cannot be contrary to mandate of the Act.” Court stated.

Consequently, the Court directed the General Manager to release compensation payable under the 1923 Act.

Hence, the Writ Petition is disposed of.

Cause Title: Sant Kumar v. General Manager, Northern Indian Railways (Neutral Citation: 2024:PHHC:040976)


Appellant: Adv. Sahir Singh Virk

Respondent: Senior Panel Counsel Narender Kumar Vashist

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