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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Employee Compensation Act [WC Act] - who should prove wages ? Insurer's appeal

Workers are exposed to many risks and there are beneficial legislations ..

Employees Compensation Act  [Workmen Compensation Act 1923 earlier] – provides for payment of compensation by the employer to his employees (or their dependents in the event of fatal accidents) in respect of personal injury due to accidents arising out of and in the course of their employment.   The enactment  aims not at compensating the workmen the wages but to provide compensation for the injury or death.  The amount of compensation to be paid depends on the nature of the injury and the average monthly wages and age of workmen.

This  Act extends to the whole of India. The act applies to factories, mines, docks, construction establishments, plantations, oilfields and other establishments which are explicitly mentioned in Schedule, however, it excludes establishments covered by the ESI Act.    The owner of the worksite or the Management of any workplace or the contractor who is undertaking some activity – all are responsible to their employees and have to provide compensation for any injury or death occurring during and in the course of employment.   They can shift the risk to the Insurers by taking a Policy upon payment of premium as appropriate.  

This is a standard policy product under Liability portfolio of Insurers (Both PSU & Private) – the policy provides insurance protection to policy holder (Employer) against any sums for which the insured would be liable towards  his employees under WC Act 1923, Fatal Accidents Act 1855 and Common Law. The foremost precondition is such injury / death occurs ‘arising out of and in the course of employment’ i.e.,  there should be causal  connection between such injury / death and the employment.

The Act mandates payment to worker by Employer but Insurance is not mandatory.  Irrespective of any insurance in place, or in the absence of that too, the employer is liable.  The contract between the Insurer and the employer covers liability arising under WC Act, but there would no direct relation between the worker and the Insurer and thus unlike Motor vehicle insurance, Insurers need not be direct parties in any dispute / adjudication before the Labour commissioner or Court.  Any liability on the employer, the employer has to defend, satisfy their liability and take reimbursement from the Insurer as applicable.  There can be differential terms and there can be situations where employer is liable, but insurers are not or are liable to a lesser / limited extent.  In earlier  days, there was ‘all or none clause’ where Insurers expressed denial of liability if the no. of employees on roll at the material time exceeded those numbers declared for insurance.  Now, many a Insurers have amended terms to provide for proportionate value of liability – aka concept of Under Insurance in terms of no. of persons or the amount of wages insured. The policy of Insurance is a contract between the Insurer and Insured (employer here) and should only interpreted on the terms it was concluded – and should not have bearing on the value of liability of the employer towards his employee. 

Here is an interesting judgement rendered by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court in Feb 2018 in a case of 2012 involving United India Insurance Co.

       This Civil Miscellaneous Appeal has been preferred against the Order of 2012 -  passed by the Workmen Compenstion Commissioner of Labour, Madurai. The cause of action arose on 10.7.2009 when a person employed as a security guard died.  He was under contract of a security agency and placed on employment at a private bank.  The security Agency had taken WC policy with the PSU Insurer.  The dependents of the deceased filed for compensation under WC Act with the  Deputy Commissioner of Labour claiming compensation of Rs.2,39,700/-

As it could happen, the contractor (employer) did not appear before the Authority nor was represented.  The Bank and the Insurer contested the claim by filing counter statements. The Authority awarded a sum of Rs.2,54,185/- towards compensation, along with 12% interest / per annum.  The insurance Company depositedthe compensation and  filed the present CivilMiscellaneous Appeal before the Hon’ble High Court.  On the appeal R1 to 3 claimants and R4 employer were setex-parte, after service of notice.

The counsel for Insurers contended that the security guards were insured only to the extent of Rs.2000/- as monthly salary and the liability of the Insurer should be so limited to that extent.   But the Authority directed the Insurance Company to pay thecompensation in excess of its liability and hence, the appellant disputed the quantum of compensation awarded in the claim petition, by the CompetentAuthority. The counsel for the bank contended that there was no ‘employer – employee’ relation of the deceased with the bank and that only the contractor should be responsible for any compensation  as per clause 8 of the agreement, executed between that contractor and the bank. 

The Court opined that there was no dispute that the deceased had been employedas a security guard, by the 4th respondent and on the ill-fated day, he was in the course of employment. It was further not disputed that the deceased never joined in the bank.  A policy of insurance taken by the contractor covering 10 employees in this cadre   for the period 2007-08 was also produced as evidence.  The premium had been paid reckoning the total cash wages ofRs.28,80,000/- was paid to 120 employees in the cadre of security guard by the contractor.  The counsel for the appellants calculated the monthly wages ofthe deceased security guard in this case as Rs.2,000/- per month  hence, contended that the insurer is liable to pay only to paya sum of Rs.1,59,600/-, by fixing the monthly salary of the deceased as Rs.2000/- towards the loss of income of Rs.2,51,885/- due to death of the employee and that the balance amount of compensation of Rs.92,285/- is to bepaid by the 4th respondent (Contractor).

The Court held that no record or document was produced by the insurance company to show the name of 120 security guards with the amount of wages / salary furnished by the employer / 4th respondentto the Insurance Company at the time of taking out policy and held that the appellant Insurance Company    failed to prove the fact that the deceasedwas getting the salary of Rs.2000/- per month, as contended by the appellantherein.  It was further stated that this  Court cannot presume the monthly wages of 120 numbers of employees each for Rs.2000/-, without any record from the Insurance Company also.

                The respondents  1 to 3 here had  pleaded in their claim petition thatthe deceased was getting a sum of Rs.3000/- per month and claimed
compensation of Rs.2,39,700/-, but P.W.1 has deposed during her examination that the deceased was getting monthly salary of Rs.5000/-.  However, no proofwas filed for the monthly salary either Rs.3000/- or Rs.5000/- per monthreceived by the deceased.  The Authority had assessed and fixed the monthlyincome of the deceased as Rs.3150/- in the absence of proof of monthly salaryof the deceased, as per G.O.No.38, Loabour and Employment Department, dated 09.11.2005. 

As the contractor remained ex-parte there was no evidence in the form of employment records / salary slip – the Court concurred with fixing of monthly salary of Rs.3150/-, as per the said Government Order.  The Court held that in the given circumstances and also the failure on thepart of the Insurance Company to produce the relevant records to show thenames of the employees with amount of salary each  at the time of getting thepolicy, this Court is not inclined to interfere with the order passed by theDeputy Commissioner of Labour, Madurai, 2009 awarding a sum of Rs.2,54,185/- along with interest at the rate of 12%per annum. The Appellate authority dismissed the CMA and directed the Insurance Company / appellant to deposits theabove amount as ordered.

The Insures may feel aggrieved in having to satisfy an award where wages were reckoned at a higher figure than the value that was purportedly insured for.  However, the lack of evidence and not properly steering the case to its logical conclusion coupled with the absence of the contractor – all lead to a different direction. In the end, there are lessons to be learnt for all Insurers in underwriting these policy, on the documents /vital information to be collected at the time of underwriting, the conditions that are to be incorporated in the policy, the documents to be produced in the event of a claim and the way such legal matters are to be steered.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th  May 2018.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

TN X (SSLC) results announced ~ SYMA boys do well 2018

Old timers will recall that the First Public Examination for the students used to be at Class XI – those who passed would join PUC in College and those days, the State First used to secure a little over 400 out of 500 -  a time when securing more than 80% was considered the ultimate !! ..  recall that in 1977, MK Raman of our school (The Hindu High School, Big Street, Triplicane)  secured 407/500 and was State 4th – photo of him with a beaming smile appeared in newspapers .. .. Those were the times when Newspapers would roll out special editions containing the Roll No. of those Candidates who passed the Examination.  It was ‘all numbers’ and those Special Supplements would sell like hot cakes…….. students, parents, near and dear would be elated to see their Registration No. appearing on the newspaper – it was a time to celebrate and so they would buy toffees and distribute ! – simple life …

            The Tamil Nadu Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) or Class 10th exam results were declared today, May 23, 2018. The pass percentage of this year is 94.5 %.  A total of 10,01,140 students appeared for the exam this year which is a drop from last year's 10.25 lakh students who took up the exam last year. Sivaganga, Erode and Virudhunagar districts have topped with pass % of 98.5; 98.38 & 98.29 respectively.  It is reported that 96.4 per cent girls qualified the exam; while it was 92.5 per cent boys passing out. 

I have been posting about our full-time tuition centre SYMA Growth providing quality tuition free to under-privileged children.    SYMA Growth students hand-picked from lower strata of society  have done well.  In Engligh  Medium 22 students passed - out of 24 ;  3 of them secured more than 400 marks. B.Manikandan 450 is our centre first. 13 students got above 300.  In    Tamil medium 18 students passed of 20. 300 to 400 - 9 students.

As you may know now, there is no State level ranking !!! -  State-level ranks will not be released this year as well to ensure that students don’t get disheartened by an unhealthy competition. “We have done away with the ranking system as even one mark will cause serious distress,” said School Education Minster KA Sengottaiyan. Students, who have not done well in the exams, should not get too stressed, Sengottaiyan said, adding that those in need of counselling or help can use the 14417 helpline. He said that parents, who notice unusual behaviour or sadness in their wards, should use the helpline immediately.  But is that not a disincentive to those who perform well .. .. .. because DD / KX1 / MI / RCB failed to qualify should we not speak of champions CSK ? 

At our SYMA Growth, a couple of years – all   21 students of Tamil medium passed; in English medium 29 out of 31 passed; unfortunately the two who failed – failed in Tamil language.  Growth topper secured 490 – toppers of NKT Boys High School and National Girls High School were from our Growth ~ that way, there is lot of scope for improvement.

We rededicate ourselves and would start functioning in the 11th year of operations of SYMA Growth ~ the quality tuition centre for poor and downtrodden. Applications have already been issued and the last date for returning the completed forms is drawing to a close in a couple of days.  We will scrutinize the applications, conduct a private interview and select the deserving candidates. Welcome you all to visit our Educational centre and provide us suggestions and support.  

No words can describe our gratitude to the management of NKT Boys Higher School.  We thank the NKT Management for providing us the infrastructure and all the support.  We thank  the Head master of the School Mr S Venkatadri.  We pray to Almighty for continued success of this project and look forward to continued support of you all.  The success is due to the blessings of Lord Parthasarathi who guides us in all our steps.  We must place on record our thanks and gratitude to those teachers who taught these students with great dedication, commitment and devotion.  Our Coordinator Mrs Thara and the team who assisted her also deserve special appreciation. .  A Big Thank you to all of you  who have been supporting us in all our endeavours.

Together We will strive to make the society better place for all of us. ~ and very very special thanks to M/s  Manpower Inc for their sponsorship.  Gratitude is due to  Mr PV Venkatesan of Manpower.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd May 2018

Faf innings .. and how did CSK win ???

They kept saying in IPL T20, no target is safe ! ~ yet at Wankhede seemingly small target was daunting – best of CSK fans would have thought of switching off and going to bed ~ yet the result was to their liking. 

In IPL, no side had   lost a wicket off the very first ball of a playoff match before today. Sunrisers Hyderabad provided the first such instance with Shikhar Dhawan getting dismissed by Deepak Chahar.  ~ and Harbhajan Singh bowled none  in the match – only the second time he did not bowl a single over even though the opposition innings lasted for full 20 overs. The  other such instance for him came while playing for Mumbai Indians against Rajasthan Royals in 2010 when he got injured while batting and was thus unable to bowl.

Chennai Super Kings grabbed a win by 2 wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a nail-biting finish in Mumbai on Tuesday and made their way into the finals. Chasing a target of 140 in 20 overs, CSK were in complete trouble  after being reduced to 62/6 in the 13th  over but senior pro Faf du Plessis anchored his side to their seventh final in the Indian premier league. CSK  needed 23 runs in the last two overs,  Shardul Thakur who came in at number 10 dominated Siddarth Kaul. Kaul gave away 17 runs in this over while Thakur struck 15* eventually. That makes CSK’s 7th entry into IPL final. No other side has reached the final more than four times.

Faf du Plessis, playing only his fifth match of the season, repaid his captain's faith by playing an innings MS Dhoni himself will be proud of. Chasing 140 CSK were in all sorts of troubles due to  excellent bowling, but du Plessis took the game deep, induced a few errors from the opposition captain, and capitalised on small mistakes here and there. Carlos Brathwaite bowled the 18th  over, with 43 to get, ahead of Sandeep Sharma and Shakib Al Hasan. Du Plessis hit that over for four, six and four to give an excellent match its final momentum shift.

Earlier, CSK bowled to plan and pinned Sunrisers down to 139. Incidentally, it was Brathwaite whose hitting in the final few overs - 43 off 29 - gave Sunrisers something to bowl at.  Du Plessis faced just six balls in the Powerplay. He looked inconspicuous during the collapse. Even as Bravo and Jadeja and Chahar fell to make it 92 for 7 after 15 overs, du Plessis kept knocking it around. In between, he hit Shakib for a four and a six in the 14th  over to stay in touch with the game.

Questions had been  raised when Chennai Super Kings used their right-to-match card on Faf du Plessis and let go of a gun death bowler in Andrew Tye. And then, du Plessis played only four games before Tuesday. Come the playoffs,  MS Dhoni needed more experience and turned to the South Africa captain. And du Plessis answered all the questions with a vintage 67* that had most of the traits of a Dhoni special: manoeuvring the middle overs, taking the match deep even as wickets tumbled at the other end, and sealing it with a six.

In the first eight overs of CSK's chase of 140, du Plessis faced just nine balls for five runs. He watched fellow opener Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Dhoni fall around him in that period. After Siddarth Kaul had removed Raina and Rayudu off successive balls, Rashid Khan stormed through the gate of Dhoni with a ripping wrong'un. Rashid proceeded to have Dwayne Bravo nicking behind with a sharp legbreak. When Deepak Chahar joined du Plessis, CSK were 92 for 7 with the asking rate reading 9.60. By then, du Plessis had moved to 38 off 31 balls. Rashid and Bhuvneshwar had one over each left, while Kaul had two. Williamson was left to choose among Shakib Al Hasan, Sandeep Sharma and Carlos Brathwaite for the other over.

Du Plessis survived an lbw call off Rashid after a successful review and helped bring down the equation to 43 off 18 balls. Williamson took a punt on Brathwaite and du Plessis launched a calculated assault on him, hitting him for four boundaries in the 18th  over. He anticipated slower balls from Brathwaite, maintained a stable base, and unleashed smooth swings. Du Plessis hit 27 off 11 balls from Brathwaite at a strike-rate of 245.45. After Shardul Thakur squirted a brace of edged boundaries and loft off Kaul in the 19th over, CSK needed six off the last. Du Plessis was up against Bhuvneshwar Kumar, one of the best death bowlers in the IPL. He read the slower ball from Bhuvneshwar and nailed it over his head to lead CSK into their seventh IPL final with five balls and two wickets to spare.

After steering Chennai Super Kings into their seventh IPL final with an unbeaten 67 off 42 balls, Faf du Plessis said the key to his innings was seeing off Rashid Khan's spell.  "It's nice to contribute since I haven't played much," du Plessis said at the post-match presentation. "Yesterday, I was just reflecting on my past games, and took some confidence from that mentally. I just entered the changing room now, and asked the boys, 'how did we win this, guys?'

~ and that is the Q most would be asking !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd May 2018.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Nadal comes back to win at Rome ~ temperament of Pliskova

There were days when Triplicanites could easily identify every league Cricketer playing at Marina ground ! ~ and tell history of them too .. .. those days we were fascinated to see a Singh playing at Marina – and my neighbour coolly added – it was Satwender Singh whose brothers Kripal Singh & Milkha too played at a higher level and their Ram Singh was one of the leading all rounders of his time, playing 2 unofficial tests !!!

Tennis followers might well know the twins Bob & Mike Ryan – and the attractive Pliskova sisters -  Karolina Pliskova and her  identical twin sister Kristyna.  For easy identification,  we have the tattoos,” Karolina said.  Karolina sports two tattoos – on her left thigh and left arm – while her sister has one. “She is a lefty and I am right-handed, and we have different hair.  Karolina was in news for wrong reasons !!

How  to explain what transpired in the third set of Rafa’s 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 win over Alexander Zverev in Rome on Sunday?   With Rafa down 1-3 in the third set and seemingly out of answers against Zverev, a storm conveniently swept across the Foro Italico, forcing a prolonged delay in play. When that delay was over, Nadal had answers again. He charged through the last five games for his eighth title in Rome, and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the process.  Zverev had a real chance at victory, up an early break in the third set, before rain threw a curveball into the match, allowing Nadal to reset and win the final five games. It was a high-quality final, with several long, grueling rallies bringing the Italian crowd to their feet in appreciation of the effort and impressive shot-making of both players. There were 24 rallies that went at least double digits (10 shots), totaling 313 shots in the court by both players.  Perhaps what made Rafa win was his temperament and firm belief that he could win though he was almost out of the match ~ and he remained cool !

Rafael Nadal may have stumbled in his bid to sweep all four “Big Titles” on clay, a feat he accomplished in 2010 when he won the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, the Mutua Madrid Open, the Internazionali BNL d'Italia and Roland Garros. Nadal fell to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid quarter-finals earlier this month. But the 31-year-old Spaniard has still added two more Big Titles – a combination of Grand Slam, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and Nitto ATP Finals crowns – to his haul as the European clay-court season enters its final three weeks.  Nadal came out on top in a matchup of this year's top two clay-court players Sunday, beating defending champion Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 Sunday to win a record-extending eighth Italian Open title. Coming a week after a loss in the Madrid Open quarterfinals to Dominic Thiem, Nadal has his confidence back entering the year's second Grand Slam in Paris, which starts next Sunday.

"It's been an amazing week," Nadal said. "It was tough losing in Madrid so to come back and win the trophy here is great." Perhaps the question heading into next week's French Open should be: "Who can take a set off Rafael Nadal?" instead of "Who can beat Nadal?'" The Spaniard, dubbed the "King of Clay," is the white-hot favorite to land a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros. Take this stunning statistic: Nadal owns a 79-2 win-loss record at the French Open, where the best-of-five set format makes the 31-year-old even harder to defeat. He's only lost to Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal in 2015.

But if there is to be a monumental upset at the French Open, who might be on the other side of the net?  There could be a sudden blackhorse, which doesn't include the absent Roger Federer.  As great athletes age, the first thing we look for is evidence of physical decline. The cliche is to talk about the “half-step” that has been lost, rather than inquiring about their psychological state. Yet even sporting legends can be worn down mentally by the accretion of small failures over the years, and the fear that certain opportunities may never come around again. Grey matter is as susceptible to the march of time as muscle fibre.

 “It is not a question of tennis,” Nadal said once after his  defeat by his compatriot Fernando Verdasco in Miami. “The thing is the question of being relaxed enough to play well.  Recently, World No 5 Karolina Pliskova lost her cool over a line call and bashed a hole into the umpire’s chair with her racket after suffering a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 defeat by Maria Sakkari in the Italian Open second round.

Pliskova had argued heatedly with umpire Marta Mrozinska after her smash was called out when serving at 30-30 and 5-5 in the final set, and her Greek opponent won the game before serving out the match.  The Czech exchanged a brief word with Sakkari at the net before approaching Mrozinska with an outstretched hand before withdrawing it and repeatedly smashing the chair with her racket.

Pliskova’s twin sister Kristyna, who also ranks in the world’s top 100, slammed Mrozinska on social media. “The worst i have ever seen @wta and i hope this lady Marta Mrozinska will never ever judge any match of me or Karolina again #blacklistforever,” the 26-year-old wrote on Twitter.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd May 2018.

Monday, May 21, 2018

commemorating 150 years of aboriginal tour ~ Pataudi lecture controversy !!!

In the last league match of IPL 2018, that solid defence stroke on 18.5 may be a talking point.  CSK required 23 off 12 – and they had the most unconventional batting line-up yesterday.  Suresh Raina not exactly middling the ball, tore Andrew Tye for 22 runs and the last ball, played a forward defence ! ~ then Mohit Sharma tried bouncer, only to see it vanishing into the crowds at long leg – MS Dhoni as emotionless as ever !!! .. .. 

Cricinfo reports of a Q in a recent promotional event, MS Dhoni was asked: "[Erwin] Rommel, the legendary German general, said no plan survives contact. How do you relate that to cricket?" "After the first ball is bowled, it's only chaos," Dhoni replied. "What you are trying to do is you're trying to manage the chaos. It's not like a script that happens. My coach Stephen Fleming often comes and does that. He says 'mate, Lungi [Ngidi] can bowl the first over, then somebody else second' and so on. Yes, I know who are the bowlers and they will bowl at some point of time. But it does not work like that. It's about adaptability."  T20 cricket is all about managing chaos.

Former England batsman James Taylor has shown an unflattering light on sharing a dressing room with Kevin Pietersen, saying he has "no respect" for England's fifth all-time leading run scorer, calling him "embarrassing". Pietersen has long been one of the most divisive figures in England cricket, his undoubted talent and ability often clouded by personality conflicts that have been dotted throughout his career. However, back 2012, Taylor, who stands just 170cm tall, recalls how the 193cm Pietersen took immediate issue with diminutive batsman being around the England team.

Down under the  commemorations to celebrate the 150th  anniversary of the 1868 Aboriginal team that toured the UK continue, with Australia Post releasing  a special stamp to mark the event. The stamp is the latest in a series of events to honour the milestone tour, with men's and women's Aboriginal XI squads to travel to England in June to mark the anniversary of the first international tour by an Australian team in any sport. The First Cricket Tour: 150 Years stamp released on May 1  features 10 Aboriginal members of the original 1868 playing squad, as well as captain Charles Lawrence, an English professional who coached and mentored the Aboriginal players, and team manager W Shepherd. The stamp design, by Phil Ellett of Creative Ethos, incorporates player portraits from one of the few remaining photos of the Aboriginal XI taken while on tour in 1868, from the collection of the National Library of Australia.

Cricket Australia has announced the squads, schedule, community activities and uniform for an historic tour of the UK for the nation’s best Indigenous players including a match against the MCC.  Women’s and men’s squads will tour the UK for the first two weeks of June, with both to play under the banner of the ‘2018 Aboriginal XI.’ The event will commemorate 150 years since an Aboriginal cricket team became the first sporting team from Australia to tour internationally.  The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Exeter is lending Aboriginal artefacts, newly identified from the 1868 cricket tour to the UK, for display at Lord’s throughout the 2018 season.

Speaking on the squads, Cricket Australia National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said: “We have assembled two strong squads for this tour that include four players who currently or have previously represented Australia – Christian, Gardner, D’Arcy Short and Scott Boland - and a further six players on WBBL, BBL or State contracts last season.  To recall some history, in 1868, a cricket team composed of Australian Aborigines toured England between May and October of that year, thus becoming the first organised group of Australian sportspeople to travel overseas. It would be another ten years before an Australian cricket team classed as representative would leave the country.

The concept of an Aboriginal cricket team can be traced to cattle stations in the Western District of Victoria, where, in the mid-1860s, European pastoralists introduced Aboriginal station hands to the sport. An Aboriginal XI was created with the assistance of Tom Wills—captain of the Victoria cricket team and founder of Australian rules football—who acted as the side's captain-coach in the lead-up to and during an 1866–67 tour of Victoria and New South Wales. Several members of this team joined what would become the Aboriginal XI that toured England under the captaincy of Englishman Charles Lawrence. International sporting contact was rare in this era. Previously, only three cricket teams had travelled abroad, all English: to the United States and Canada in 1859, and to Australia in 1861–62 and 1863–64.

Australian all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner has been named captain of the women’s 2018 Aboriginal XI that will compete in an historic tour of the United Kingdom. Gardner, who is one of Australia’s most promising young cricketers having already played 26 matches for her country, will lead a squad of 13. The squad is a relatively inexperienced one, with Gardner the only member with international experience. “I think all the girls are really excited to (represent their culture), she said. It will be the second time Gardner captains an Indigenous XI, as she was tasked with leading the inaugural women’s Indigenous team which toured India in 2016. The team will play four matches, with a marquee match against Surrey to be played at The Kia Oval, one of the venues where the 1868 team played.

Both the female and male squads will also wear uniforms designed for them by Aunty Fiona Clarke, who is the great-great grand-daughter of Grongarrong (Mosquito), one of the stars of the 1868 team. The design is based off the commemorative artwork titled ‘Walkabout Wickets’ which tells the story of the 1866 Boxing Day match and the 1868 tour.

Back home,  BCCI members and the CoA are once again at loggerheads, this time over the latter's decision to pick Kevin Pietersen as the speaker for the Pataudi Memorial Lecture, to be held in Bengaluru next month.  After acting BCCI secretary Amitabh Chaudhary questioned the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators’ decision to pick Kumar Sangakkara as the choice to speak in this year’s Pataudi Memorial Lecture, CoA chief Vinod Rai had said that the Board should look at Chaudhary’s suggestions of getting a former India player (who played alongside Pataudi) if Sangakkara wasn’t available for the lecture. But now the CoA has gone ahead and picked Kevin Pietersen for the occasion after Sangakkara made his unavailability known and Chaudhary is not happy at the turn of events.

In another mail to Rai, in possession with CricketNext, the secretary has written: “The expression of happiness on it (General Manager Saba Karim’s mail that Kevin Pietersen has agreed to address the lecture) had left me wondering whether the Memorial Lecture was indeed MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture or Sir Len Hutton Lecture or for that matter Sir Frank Woolley lecture. Board members feel that former Indian cricketers who played alongside the man famously called Tiger Pataudi would bring more value to the occasion and feel someone among Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Erapalli Prasanna and Abbas Ali Baig should be invited as the speaker.

GM cricket operation Saba Karim had sent the mail to the CoA and the BCCI members asking them for the suggestion as the lecture is set to be held on June 12 in Bengaluru before the Afghanistan Test. The names of the speakers suggested by Saba were Sourav Ganguly, Kumar Sangakara, Kevin Peterson and Nasser Hussain.The topics were: A) Peace and sustainability through Cricket - Relevent since Afghanistan is a wonderful story. B) Behaviour and conduct of international players in the modern age - Players perspective. C) Cricket as an Olympic Sport - Way forward.

Diana Edulji was the one who suggested Sangakkara’s name and Rai seconded it and asked Saba to speak to the former Sri Lanka cricketer. The Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture was started by the BCCI on February 6, 2013. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Sunil Gavaskar in 2013. But what remains etched in everyone’s memory is the beautiful fun-filled lecture from Farokh Engineer in Mar 2017.

So on a day when there is no IPL ~ you have a lot on Cricket to read !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st May 2018.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

SYMA Growth 2018-19 - issuance of Applications

SYMA in Social service since 1977, has been passionately  involved in educational service too. We live by the axiom that ‘Education is the only tool which can uplift the Society and empower the lower echelons of the Society’. The foremost responsibility of a Social Service Organisation is to improve the society and help the underprivileged.  This is better done by providing the children good education.   A fullfledged tuition centre that began in 2008 ,  our  cherished  initiative in educating the economically poor children, uplifting their standards and making them responsible citizens is now a decade old. At SYMA Growth, we have  X Std Tamil Medium; X Std English Medium; +2 Commerce Group and +2 Science Group.

In this period of ten years, we have strived to change the lives of at least 1000 + children providing quality tuition thereby making them responsible citizens of the society.  Many people have helped us in rendering this service.  The success is due to the blessings of Lord Parthasarathi who guides us in all our steps.  Our sincere thanks are due to all teachers, our coordinator Smt. Thara, all old students of Growth, NKT school management and principal, our main sponsor "Manpower".

Today 20th May 2018 is a significant day as we progress into 11th year of our Tuition Centre SYMA Growth.  

There are queues and milling crowds everywhere ! ~ a couple of decades ago, people would stand long hours to get a cinema ticket. They had to wait patiently in long queues for booking train tickets before computerization changed lives.  For IPL matches, people would not mind standing in long winding queues, even when the price is too high.  In most places, getting a ticket, getting admission is ‘on a first-come, first-served basis’ – for those in queue this could be frustrating as one will have wait long unsure of whether one would get admitted .. .. .. there have been occasions where parents come the previous night (just as crowds gather infront of US embassy !) and wait for hours for getting application forms of elementary schools.  To many of them, if the school is delivering success, it is worth waiting.  The school authorities on record would say that they did not want the parents to queue up and the serpentine line shocked them (inside enjoying their popularity)

SYMA always want to treat people with utmost dignity – in our interviews aimed at instilling discipline and making students and parents understand that ‘SYMA Growth’ is not simply a free tuition service, but one aimed at transforming the lives of under-privileged children through quality education, we talk to them in a secluded atmosphere thereby providing them confidence and ensuring that no embarrassment is caused when they explain their family conditions. Last year there were crowds waiting outside SYMA medical centre for hours and some had to return disappointed as SYMA is constrained to have only 30 seats per class.

There are various constraints – class rooms cannot accommodate more than 30 – 35; teachers may not give that private attention, if the numbers were to be high; we do not have resources and teachers to have more than 1 class – and every Organisation / Educational institution that way would have constraint of numbers. This time, we discussed this well in advance and kept notice board intimating that applications for  SYMA Growth tuition centre for the ensuing Academic Year 2018-19 will be issued   @ 9.30 am on Sunday, the 20th May 2018 at NKT National Boys High School. 

We made it abundant clearly that all those who stand in the queue @ the appointed hour till 10 am would be given applications, but getting application does not guarantee a seat.  The selection is primarily on economic criteria. Those with parental income of Rs.20000/- and above are not considered.   It would be of interest to you to know that the selection weighing some more parameters : physically challenged, students of schools of lower fee structure,  parents illiterate, parental occupation being manual labour / coolie and the like, orphans, children of destitute / single mother – all accorded some additional mark enabling that we select students who otherwise do not have access to quality tuition by paying fees.

With all this in place too, people had started assembling at around 8 am and by 9 am there were queues in front of the NKT National Boys High School,.  To ensure that there was no chaos or disappointment, all those standing in the queue were taken inside and made to sit in comfort as our volunteers took the names, registered and issued applications.  For +2 Commerce Group alone, we have today issued around 65 applications.  Taking cue from the way TN Engineering Counselling is done, this year we will  scrutinize the filled-up forms, and if the qualifying marks are still the same – have them in seriatum and select based on random number assigned by Computer.  We are keen on ensuring transparency and propriety in all our actions aimed at helping those students who otherwise would have no access to such quality education.

Today, we met those good 7 students who had performed well in exams conducted in Mar 2018.  All those who had obtained more than 7 had been invited and we counselled them on their career path and also made an online application to another Company which provides scholarships.  This was done by SYMA as a goodwill gesture aimed at getting some financial support to those toppers.  All of them   are from lower strata of society, mostly first generation students, odds are pitted against them in terms of infrastructure, parental support and general level of education. 

We thank Manpower once again for having changed the lives of these children - with the active support of great organizations like Manpower – other philanthropic entities and individuals who have been supporting SYMA over the years,  we will strive to change the way these students from lower-echoleons of society study, which will eventually help them in doing well in their education and naturally blossom in their career.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th May 2018.

Doodle on Abraham Ortelius ~ famous Atlas 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum'

Even at the height of IPL fever, we look to Cricket news elsewhere ~ and there is lot happening downunder ! ~ i.e., cricketing news from Australia New Zealand as we see them on the bottom part of any map. 

Australia's Test and ODI captain Tim Paine says there was a point in his career when struggled so badly to come to terms with his rotten run of injuries that the mere sight of his Baggy Green cap "pissed me off".   Paine, who was appointed Test captain amid the fallout from the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, only returned to the Test side last summer after a hiatus of more than seven years – a period in which he was plagued by endless finger problems and ultimately a severe loss of form with the bat.

When a similar map was shown to a group of Executives – almost all of them instantly remarked ‘wrong map’; ‘computer error’; ‘display error’; ‘upside down’. .. .. for we have all along been used to seeing maps with North up.  For those who don’t just take it for granted, the common answer is that Europeans made the maps and they wanted to be on top!  There can always be other ways of looking at the globe Putting Australia at the top half of a map, as was done in McArthur's Universal Corrective Map (1979), may seem like the work of some prankster in the Outback, but in fact, there is no intrinsic reason to put the Southern Hemisphere at the bottom. Nor is there a universal mandate that requires the "Prime Meridian" to pass through Greenwich, England. Instead, these are choices based on mapmakers' objectives and biases. Like other choices in mapping, they show how individuals in a particular time and place perceived their world.

Today there is interesting doodle on a man who began his life as  a map-engraver, in 1547,  entered the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke as an illuminator of maps. He supplemented his income trading in books, prints, and maps, and his journeys included yearly visits to the Frankfurt book and print fair where he met Gerardus Mercator in 1554.  In 1560, however, when travelling with Mercator to Trier, Lorraine, and Poitiers, he was  attracted, largely by Mercator’s influence, towards the career of a scientific geographer.  Today  Google Doodle is celebrating Abraham Ortelius, the legendary cartographer who published the very first modern atlas.

Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World) is considered to be the first true modern atlas. Written by Abraham Ortelius,  originally printed on May 20, 1570, in Antwerp,  it consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved.
Abraham Ortelius was born in Antwerp, modern-day Belgium, in 1527, and was raised by his uncle following his father's death.  Ortelius travelled widely across Europe, including with the  renowned cartographer Gerardus Mercator, who is thought to have first inspired his passion for map-making. After publishing his first map in 1564, he went on to become one of his era's foremost cartographers, acknowledged as one of the founders of the celebrated Netherlands school of cartography.  On May 20, 1570, Ortelius published the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum – Theatre of the World – the first modern atlas. Coming a year after Mercator released his legendary world map, it consisted of 53 decorative maps, occasionally adorned with sea monsters, a fascination of the time.

Earlier, in  1564 he published his first map, Typus Orbis Terrarum, an eight-leaved wall map of the world, on which he identified the Regio Patalis with Locach as a northward extension of the Terra Australis, reaching as far as New Guinea. This map subsequently appeared in reduced form in the Terrarum (the only extant copy is in now at Basel University Library.  The man celebrated today - Abraham Ortelius (1527 –1598) was a Flemish cartographer and geographer, conventionally recognized as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.  The publication of his atlas in 1570 is often considered as the official beginning of the Golden Age of Netherlandish cartography. He is also believed to be the first person to imagine that the continents were joined together before drifting to their present positions.

The Flemish or Flemings are a Germanic ethnic group native to Flanders, in modern Belgium, who speak Dutch, especially any of its dialects spoken in historical Flanders, known collectively as Flemish Dutch.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th May 2018.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

MACT ~ appeals - and the result that an Insurer faced !!!

As we travel on roads, we see hundreds of motor vehicles of various hues – and sadly there are accidents too .. .. .. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the major causes of death and injuries in India. By some statistics citing Ministry of Road & Transport, around 1.5 lakh people die every year in five lakh road accidents in the country.  The Motor Vehicles Act 1988 is to undergo changes as proposed in  the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill 2016 in Lok Sabha.

Motor Vehicles Act provides for compensation to those victims of road accidents and insurance of vehicles against TP risks is compulsory. Motor Accident Claims Tribunals have been constituted and the procedure for claiming compensation has been made easy.  Petitions are filed by the victims or their legal heirs, and Court pass orders for compensation against the driver, Owner – paid by the Insurance Companies by virtue of contract of Insurance. 

There is provision for agitating the judgments by the aggrieved parties – the petitioners or the respondents can go on appeal to Higher courts.  Section 173 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 deals with Appeals : -

(1)     Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) any person aggrieved by an award of a Claims Tribunal may, within ninety days from the date of the award, prefer an appeal to the High Court: Provided that no appeal by the person who is required to pay any amount in terms of such award shall be entertained by the High Court unless he has deposited with it twenty-five thousand rupees or fifty per cent of the amount so awarded, whichever is less, in the manner directed by the High Court: Provided further that the High Court may entertain the appeal after the expiry of the said period of ninety days, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the appeal in time.

(2)     No appeal shall lie against any award of a Claims Tribunal if the amount in dispute in the appeal is less than ten thousand rupees.

There have been occasions when the Insurers feel that a substantial point of law has been overlooked, some conditions of non-compliance had not been properly dealt with or when they feel the award is much higher – the intention is either to have the liability negated or have the quantum reduced.  Here is an interesting case of a Private Insurer going on appeal – it was an   filed under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, against  an award given in July 2011 by MACt /   Fast Track Court No.II,   Tirunelveli.

The cause of action for the original petition was a fatal road accident, which is not disputed.  The Insurer filed appeal on the quantum and so did the legal heirs – appeal on quantum.  The learned counsel appearing for the appellant / Insurance Companysubmitted that as the deceased was a bachelor, the Tribunal, instead ofdeducting 50% of the income for personal expenses, has deduced only 1/3rd amount for personal expenses. The learned counsel appearing for the respondents 1 to 3 contended that the Tribunal has taken into account meagre salary of Rs.4,000/-,though the deceased was earning a sum of Rs.25,000/-.  He added that the Tribunal, instead of taking the age of the deceased, had erroneouslyfixed the age of the mother of the deceased and passed the award and that thefuture prospects have also not been added while calculating the loss ofincome.

It was observed that the claimants had stated the deceased to have been earning   a sum of Rs.25,000/- as a JCB Operator but Tribunal reckoned only Rs.4,000/- as monthly salary.  The accident occurred in 2010.  The court held that consideringthe age of the deceased and also considering the fact that the salary of theJCB operator definitely would have been more than the amount fixed by theTribunal, the appellate  Courtexpressed inclination to take Rs.6,500/- as notional income.  Asper Sarala Varma case, if 40% of the amount is added for future prospects,the monthly income of the deceased would come to Rs.9,100/- p.m..

The Court further held that the appellant Insurers were right in stating that the deceased being a bachelor, 50% of salary should be deducted for personal expenses and thus   income per month comes to Rs.4,550/- -  annual income comes to Rs.54,600/-.  Further, the law is well settled that though the deceased was a bachelor, the age of the mother should not be taken into account and that the age of the deceased alone should be taken into account.  As the deceased was aged 28 – the multiplier was taken as 18 – but as the Insurers vehemently disputed the age and claimants too had not produced clinching documentary evidence, multiplier of 27 was taken. 

Taking the annual income arrived above applied with Multiplier No.17, the loss of income comes to Rs.9,28,200/- (Rs.54,600/- x 17).  Further, instead of compensation awarded on the other heads, the appellate court expressed inclination to award a sum of Rs.70,000/- towards conventional heads. Thus, the totalcompensation amount was worked at  Rs.9,98,200/-.   (Rs.6,500/- + 40% x 50% x 17 +   Rs.70,000/-)

The Hon’ble  High Court, thus on appeal, enhanced the award amount Rs.4,60,000/- to Rs.9,98,000/- and held that the rate of interest of 7.5% fixed by the Tribunal is in order.  The Court directed the Insurers  to deposit the entire award amount, less the amountalready deposited, with accrued interests and costs, within a period of eightweeks from the date of receipt of  copy of this judgment.  There was no order on costs and thus the Insurers ended up paying more than what was decreed by the Tribunal.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th May 2018.