24. Appearance of parties.—
1[24. Appearance of parties.—Any appearance, application or act required to be made or done by any person before or to a Commissioner (other than an appearance of a party which is required for the purpose of his examination as a witness) may be made or done on behalf of such person by a legal practitioner or by an official of an Insurance Company or a registered Trade Union or by an Inspector appointed under sub-section (1) of section 8 of the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948), or under sub-section (1) of section 5 of the Mines Act, 1952 (35 of 1952), or by any other officer specified by the State Government in this behalf, authorised in writing by such person, or with the permission of the Commissioner, by any other person so authorised.]
West Bengal.—After section 24, insert the following sections, namely:—
“24A. Reference of disputed medical questions to a medical referee.—(1) If any question arises in any proceedings under this Act pending before the Commissioner as to—
(a) the nature and extent of the permanent disablement of a workman, or
(b) the duration of his temporary disablement, or
(c) whether the incapacity of a workman is due to personal injury by accident, or
(d) whether a workman has contracted any occupational disease specified in Schedule III,
the question shall, in default of agreement , on the joint application of both parties or on the application of either party in the prescribed manner, and on payment in the prescribed manner by the parties, or the party making the application, as the case may be, of the prescribed fees and expenses, be referred by the Commissioner to a medical referee appointed by him in his discretion from amongst the medical practitioners included in the list prepared under section 24B:
Provided that where an application is made by only one of the parties, if the Commissioner is of the opinion that the question is one which ought not on account of the exceptional difficulty of the case or of any other sufficient reason be referred to a medical referee, he may after recording his reasons in writing reject the application:
Provided further that if the parties themselves jointly select any medical practitioner included in the said list for appointment as the medical referee, the Commissioner shall, on payment of the prescribed fees and expenses in the prescribed manner, appoint that medical practitioner:
Provided further that a medical practitioner whose services have been used for the medical treatment of an injury by accident to a workman, or of an occupational disease specified in Schedule III contracted by such workman, by or on behalf of such workman or his employer or by or on behalf of any insurers interested in any proceeding under this Act arising out of such injury or disease, shall not act as a medical referee in any proceedings under this Act in respect of such injury or disease.
(2) The Medical referee to whom such a reference is made under sub-section (1) shall, in accordance with the prescribed rules, require the workman to submit to a medical examination by him or under his personal direction and shall personally or with such medical assistance as he may deem necessary examine the workman medically and send to the Commissioner who has made the reference a report in respect of the question specifically mentioned in the order of reference.
(3) If a workman refuses to submit himself for medical examination by or under the personal direction of the medical referee to whom a reference has been made under this section, or if a workman in any way obstructs the medical examination by or under the personal direction of the medical referee the workman’s right to compensation under this Act and his right to continue any proceedings under this Act shall be suspended until such examination has taken place.
(4) In any proceedings under this Act in which evidence is recorded, the report of the medical referee shall as between the parties to the proceedings be conclusive proof of the facts related therein within the meaning of section 4 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872:
Provided that such report shall not so be regarded as conclusive proof of the facts related therein if in the particular proceedings the Commissioner, either of his own motion or on application being made to him by either party, for reasons to be recorded by him in writing, deems it expedient in the interests of justice to allow the parties to adduce further evidence on such facts.
24B. List of qualified medical practitioners for appointment as medical referees.— The State Government shall prepare a list of qualified medical practitioners who may be appointed as medical referees under section 24A and shall publish the said list in the Official Gazette”.
[Vide Bengal Act 6 of 1942, sec. 4 (w.e.f. 19-11-1942).]
1. Subs. by Act 8 of 1959, sec. 14, for section 24 (w.e.f. 1-6-1959).