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An amendment enhancing the compensation for workers in case of death is prospective; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Ajay Rastogi

The SC { K Sivaraman & Ors v. P Sathishkumar & Anr} holds that, in line with settled precedent of this Court, that where (i) a legislation confers a benefit on some persons, (ii) without inflicting a corresponding detriment on some other persons or the public generally and (iii) where the conferral of such benefit appears to be the intention of the legislature, the presumption of prospective application may stand displaced. It was held though amendments enhancing the compensation payable under the Employee‘s Compensation Act 1923 confer a benefit upon employees, a corresponding burden is imposed on employers to pay a higher rate of compensation. It is presumably for this reason that the three judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that the benefit of an amendment enhancing the rate of compensation does not have retrospective application to accidents that took place prior to the coming into force of the amendment. Further, it was held that there is nothing in amendment, either express or implied, to denote an intention of the legislature to confer the benefit of the amendment to accidents that took place prior to its coming into force.

The question falling for consideration in the above said case, was whether the amendment, can be given retrospective operation, which is for benefit of Employees - i.e. enhancing the compensation. The answer was in negative as aforesaid.

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