Muthuweeran v. Superintendent, Etana Estate.
Present: Howard C.J.
MUTHUWEERAN v. SUPERINTENDENT, ETANA ESTATE.
In the matter of a case stated under section 39 of the Workmen’sCompensation Ordinance, No. 19 of 1934.
Workmen’s compensation—Employment of man with one eye blind—Loss ofother eye—Total disablement—Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance,No. 19 of 1934 s. 6 (1)b, (Cap. 117).
Where a workman, who has lost the sight of one eye, suffers the loss ofthe other eye as the result of an accident in the course of employment,—Held, that the workman has suffered “ total disablement" entitlinghim to compensation under 6 (1)b of the Workmen’s CompensationOrdinance.
117 N. L. R. 33.119 N. L. R. 277
HOWARD C.J.—Muthuweeran v. Superintendent, Btana Estate
HIS was a case stated by the Commissioner of Workmen’sCompensation under section 39 of the Workmen’s Compensation
N. K. Choksy (with him Miss Mehta and M. Ratnam), for the employer.R. R. Crosette-Thambiah, C.C., appears as amicus curiae.
Cur. adv. vult..
M$rch 15, 1940. Howard C.J.—
This case has been submitted for the opinion of the Supreme Courtbg^ghe Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation under section 39 ofthee; Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 117). The facts whichar^jaaot in dispute are as follows:—Prior to an accident that occurred tohasten August 19, 1938, the workman had lost the sight of his right eye.Tlp}v5ime when and the circumstances in which the sight of this eye wasIqsr are unknown, but it occurred long before August 19, 1938. Neitherti«* present nor any previous Superintendent of the Etana Estate wherethe workman was employed was aware of the fact that the latter wasblind in his right eye. On August 19, 1938, the workman suffered injuryto his left eye arising out of and in the course of his employment. OnAugust 23, 1938, he entered hospital and lost the sight of his left eyecompletely. The question for my decision is whether in law the work-man has suffered “ total ” or “ partial ” disablement. Giving thephraseology of the definition of “ partial disablement ” where it occursin section 2 its ordinary meaning, I do not think it can be contendedthat the disablement suffered by the workman comes within this definition.His earning capacity has, as the result of the accident on August 19,1938, not been merely reduced, in every employment which he wascapable of undertaking at the time of the accident, but he has beenincapacitated for all such work. The injury, therefore, caused permanenttotal disablement entitling this workman to compensation under section6 (1)b of the Ordinance. In this connection I would refer to the case ofLee v. Baird & Co., Ltd. (Vol. 1, Butterworths’ Workmen’s CompensationCases, p. 34). At page 38 Lord Mackenzie states as follows: —
“ It is the law that if a man who is already afflicted with an infirmityis injured by an accident and thereby incapacitated from carryingon the work which he was previously fit to do, then that is an injurywhich results from the accident, even though the accident would nothave incapacitated him had he been otherwise sound. The case may befigured of an injury to a man who to begin with has only one eye.That renders him more liable to be disabled, but if an accident happens,and if there is injury to the sound eye, those responsible for theaccident will be liable for the consequences, although if he had theother eye the result would not have been the same. In the same way,it is obvious that if a man with a lame leg receives an injury to theother leg the injury would have very much more serious consequences.Accordingly, I am unable to agree with the view of the learnedSheriff-Substitute upon the facts as stated in the case. It appears tome that this is the case of a man whose right eye has been rendered oflittle use in consequence of the accident, and that the result of that,
DE KRETSER J.—Suppramaniam Chettiar v. Senanayake.
poupled with his previous infirmity, is to render him partially incapacita-ted for work, and accordingly he is still in a state of partial incapacityin the sense of the statute, and that partial incapacity, renders theemployers liable to make compensation. ”
In my opinion, therefore, the workman in this case has sufferedpermanent total disablement.
MUTHUWEERAN v. SUPERINTENDENT, ETANA ESTATE