Skip to main content

Silicosis: Gujarat HC asks Employees' State Insurance Corp to pay compensation to 9 victims of deadly disease

By Jagdish Patel* 
The Gujarat High Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Vadodara, challenging the order of the ESI Court, Vadodara to pay disablement benefit as compensation to nine silicosis victims, all of whom are adivasis from Gujarat.
Belonging to the Jhalod block in Dahod district, these tribal workers had gone to work in quartz crushing units of Godhara between 2000 and 2005. They were exposed to high level of silica dust at work. Soon they started getting sick and some died. Many left the workplace and went back to their native home.
When the People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), a voluntary organization working on occupational safety and health, came to know about the problem, it approached the state health department and requested an inquiry. The state health commissioner directed the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) Ahmedabad, to make an inquiry.
In October 2004, NIOH organized a medical camp in Jhalod Community Health Centre (CHC) and confirmed diagnosis in nine workers out of 24 examined. Later, the tuberculosis (TB) department of the Dahod Civil Hospital kept sent X-rays to NIOH for opinion. The diagnosis was done either by the General Hospital, Vadodara, or the Civil Hospital, Ahemedabad.
Following this, PTRC started collecting employment evidence by filing the Right to Information (RTI) pleas. In 15 cases it succeded in collecting adequate evidence. In 2007, 15 victims filed applications before the ESIC local office in Kalol to pay them benefits. But there was no reply.
In 2008 the workmen filed an appeal in the ESI Court, Vadodara. Pending hearing, six appellants succumbed to silicosis. Silicosis is known to be a fatal lung disease. In 2015 February, the ESI Court passed an order in favor of the remaining nine applicants.
ESIC challenged ESI Court the order in the Gujarat High Court in December 2015. Justice Pardiwala passed the historical judgment, dismissing the ESIC plea.
Arguing in the High Court, senior counsel Shilpa Shah for one of the workmen pointed towards how he was examined by the Civil Hospital, Dahod, and x-rays were taken. It was diagnosed by the Civil Hospital, Dahod, that he is suffering from silicosis. The medical reports of the workman was forwarded to the NIOH as the respondent was suffering from silicosis. Based on the medical reports, the workman sought compensation from the ESIC.
She said, the application filed by the workman, who is registered with the ESI Hospital, was ignored and not acted upon. The victim was not referred to the Medical Board, as per Sector 54-A of the ESI Act by ESIC, even though there was thumping and convincing evidence as regards the respondent suffering from silicosis. This forced the workman file an application directly before the ESI Court in 2008, as his physical condition was deteriorating.
In all, Shah said, there the ESI Court heard an appeal from 15 insured persons, out of which six succumbed to the disease during the pendency of the case, adding, the ESI Court observed that the respondents were suffering from disease.
The appeal in the ESI Court was filed under Section 75(2A) of the ESI Act stipulates that, in case an insured person is not referred to or examined by a Medical Board by the ESIC, the ESI Court could decide upon the matter to direct ESIC to have such claim determined by the Medical Board.
According to Shah, as it was an admitted fact that the workmen were suffering from silicosis, and the list of insured persons suffering from silicosis was produced on record by the Deputy Director of the Appellant Corporation itself. In such circumstances, the ESI Court had cogent and convincing evidence to determine that the respondents were indeed suffering from silicosis.
In such circumstances, the consequential benefits to receive the disablement benefit for lifetime are required to be granted, she insisted.
--
*Director, Peoples Training And Research Centre, Vadodara

Comments

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.