A.A. Desai, J.
1. This appeal at the behest of State raises a question as to whether a personnel engaged under the Employment Guarantee Scheme in the event of disability suffered during the course of the employment is entitled to claim compensation as per the provisions of the Workment's Compensation Act, 1923 (the Act of 1923).
2. The respondent Tukaram was provided work under the Scheme. On 3rd of June 1982 while on duty he met with an accident and ultimately lost his four fingers of the left hand. He approached the Commissioner under Section 19 of the Act of 1923. By the impugned award the Commissioner has awarded compensation of Rs. 12,600/-. While challenging the award Mr. Patil, the learned Government Pleader for the State, urged that in view of Section 16 of the Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Act, 1977 (the act of 1977) the respondent is not entitled to claim such compensation under the provisions of the Act of 1923. Mr. Patil pointed out that Section 16 has overriding 'effect, which reads thus:
16 The provisions of this Act or scheme shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force.
Mr. Patil made a submission that the Act of 1977 provides for payment of compensation under Clause (xiv) of Section 7. As per the provisions laid down therein amongst others, in case of disablement, the personnel is entitled to such ex gratia payment as may be determined in accordance with the scheme. According to Mr. Patil as per the provisions laid down therein the respondent has; been paid ex gratia payment of Rs.2,000/- As such it was not competent for him to approach the Commissioner under the provisions of the Act of 1923. I find that the submission as made is well founded.
3. Mr. Chavan, learned Counsel appearing for the respondent, made a submission that the Act of 1923 is a beneficial piece of legislation and the right guaranteed thereunder cannot be taken away by the subsequent provisions under Act of 1977. According to him even after reading Section 16, which is reproduced hereinbefore, the right of the workman to claim compensation under the Act of 1923 has neither been taken away nor abrogated. In the submission of Mr. Chavan there is no inconsistency as regards payment of compensation between the two statutes. As such the provisions laid down under Clause (xiv) of Section 7 of the Act of 1977 cannot have the overriding effect and the disabled is entitled to compensation under the Act of 1923 in addition to whatever is provided under the Act of 1977. Mr. Chavan urged that what is being provided under Clause (xiv) of Section 7 is ex gratia payment, which, in the submission of Mr. Chavan, is not analogous to payment of compensation as envisaged by the Act of 1923. Two statutes deal with different subjects. Hence Section 16 of the Act of 1977 does not bring any overriding effect over those provisions as contained under Act of 1923.
4. The Act of 1977 has been introduced with an object for securing right to work by guaranteeing employment to all adult persons who volunteer to do unskilled manual work in rural area. The entire scheme of the Act has a special drive unlike those employments which are known in a common parlance. In this special scheme of the Act one of the aspects has been incorporated as discussed above, regarding payment of amount in case of disablement as contained under Clause (xiv) of Section 7. The payment in case of disablement is to be made as per the scheme, without there being any rider as provided under the Act of 1923. The payment as envisaged by the provisions of the Act of 1977 is to mitigate the agony of a person who suffered injury while working under the scheme. The Act of .1977 also provides for a particular forum. As such even if the legislation has used the nomenclature of ex gratia payment that is analogous and at par with the compensation which is being awarded under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Provisions on the subject of compensation under the Act of 1923 are apparently in conflict and are inconsistent with those provided under the Act of 1977. In view of Section 16, the provisions in this regard, under the Act of 1977, due to overriding effect shall prevail over those under the Act of 1923.
5. Mr. Chavan then placed reliance upon a decision reported in Ahmednagar Zilla Shet Majdoor Union v. State of Maharashtra 1985 Mah LJ
318. He made a submission that though there is a provision regarding payment of wages as prescribed under Clause (vii) of Sub-section (2) of Section 7 of the Act of 1977, as observed, Government has to fix the wages as per the minimum wages prescribed under the relevant Act. In the submission of Mr. Chavan Section 16 does not protect the Government in this behalf and has to adhere with the norms and has to fix rates accordingly. In view of this decision, in the submission of the learned Counsel, though there is a specific provision under Section 7(2) Clause (vii) of the Act of 1977, the Government has no option but to fix the rate other than minimum wages. The overriding effect to the provisions of the Act of 1977 has been given by virtue of Section 16 only in case of inconsistency with any other provisions of law for the time being in force. Clause (vii) of Sub-section (2) of Section 7 of the said Act only authorises the Government to fix the wages of a person working diligently for 7 hours a day. The norms and other considerations have not specifically been prescribed for the purposes of the employment under the scheme. While fixing the rate of wages the Government has to adhere to those norms, so as to make the wages under the scheme equal to the minimum wages for agricultural labourer for the lowest zone fixed from time to time. It is therefore apparent that the provisions under Clause (ii) of Sub-section (2) of Section 7 of the Act of 1977 are not in any way inconsistent with those provisions of the Minimum Wages Act. In view of this the authority cited by the learned Counsel has no application in the instant case.
6. As discussed above the respondent was of legally entitled to approach the Commissioner under the Act of 1923. His claim before the Commissioner is therefore liable to be rejected.
7. It is pointed out by Mr. Chanvan at this stage that the ex gratia payment as awarded by the State Government is too meagre, taking into consideration the disabilities sustained by the respondent. Head Mr. Patil on this aspect. I agree with Mr. Chavan that the payment as awarded needs enhancement.
8. In the result, the appeal is allowed. The impugned order passed by the Commissioner dated 30.11.1987 is hereby set aside. Application of the respondent filed before the Commissioner under Section 19 is hereby dismissed.
However, the ex gratia payment as made under Section 7 (xiv) of the Act is enhanced from Rs. 2,000/- to Rs.4,000/-. The appellant is directed to make the payment of the balance amount of Rs. 2,000/- within a period of one month.
Rule made accordingly absolute.