Medical professionals are not ‘workmen’

ImageBenefits under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 are available only to ‘workmen’. If one is a manager or a professional, he is outside the ambit of the act. In ESI Corporation Medical Officer’s Assoication v. ESI Corporation, the Supreme Court held that a medical professional treating patients and diagonsing diseases cannot be held to be a ‘workmen’ under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act. The two judge bench consisting of KSP Radhakrishan and AK Sikri, therein drew a distinction between ‘occupation’ and profession’, and held that an occupation is a principal activity related to job, work or calling that earns regular wages for a person; and a profession on the other hand, requires extensive training, study and mastery of the subject, whether it is teaching students, providing legal advice or treating patients or diagnosing diseases. Hence, the court was of the opinion that professionals are not workman within the meaning of Section 2(s) of the ID Act.

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About Thomas Geeverghese

Advocate, Ernakulam
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