Whether wife of deceased who has re-married can be considered a ‘Dependent’ under Employee’s Compensation Act;

No reasons were assigned by the Commissioner to deny the status of the wife as a dependent and for denying her compensation. Therefore, an appeal against this decision was preferred by the wife of the deceased before the Hon’ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh.

The Hon’ble Court, after perusal of Section 2(d) of the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923 opined that a plain reading of the definition in Section 2(d) made it clear that as on the date of death; the wife of the deceased who becomes a widow is treated as a dependent and is made eligible to receive compensation. The Act does not make a distinction between a person who remains a widow or who re-marries.

The Hon’ble Court further observed that no evidence was brought on record to show that the appellant got re-married to another person. It was only a vague assertion made while deposing before the Labour Officer for the purpose of distribution of compensation.

The Hon’ble Court, after referring to a number of precedents on this topic concluded that the status of a person as dependant of a workman (employee) has to be determined as on the date of his death and the appellant, in the present case, being wife of the deceased workman, was a dependent of the deceased workman and was entitled to her share of the compensation.

Finally, the Hon’ble Court, awarding the appellant (wife) compensation, held that The Commissioner had erred in denying the compensation to the appellant, more particularly, when Labour Officer in his report has shown wife of the deceased also as a dependent.