19. Reference to Commissioners.- (1) If any question arises in any proceedings under this Act as to the liability of any person to pay compensation (including any question as to whether a person injured is or is not a *[employee]) or as to the amount or duration of compensation (including any question as to the nature or extent of disablement), the question shall, in default of agreement, be settled by a Commissioner.
(2) No Civil Court shall have jurisdiction to settle, decide or deal with any question which is by or under this Act required to be settled, decided or dealt with by a Commissioner or to enforce any liability incurred under this Act.
20. Appointment of Commissioners.-
(1) The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint any person *[who is or has been a member of a State Judicial Service for a period of not less than five years or is or has been for not less than five years an advocate or a pleader or is or has been a Gazetted officer for not less than five years having educational qualifications and experience in personnel management, human resource development and industrial relations] to be a Commissioner for *[employees’] Compensation for such area as may be specified in the notification.
(2) Where more than one Commissioner has been appointed for any area, the State Government may, by general or special order, regulate the distribution of business between them.
(3) Any Commissioner may, for the purpose of deciding any matter referred to him for decision under this Act, choose one or more persons possessing special knowledge of any matter relevant to the matter under inquiry to assist him in holding the inquiry.
(4) Every Commissioner shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
21. Venue of proceeding and transfer.- (1) Where any matter under this Act is to be done by or before a Commissioner, the same shall, subject to the provisions of this Act and to any rules made hereunder, be done by or before the Commissioner for the area in which–
(a) the accident took place which resulted in the injury; or
(b) the *[employee] or in case of his death, the dependant claiming the compensation ordinarily resides; or
(c) the employer has his registered office:
Provided that no matter shall be processed before or by a Commissioner, other than the Commissioner having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident took place, without his giving notice in the manner prescribed by the Central Government to the Commissioner having jurisdiction over the area and the State Government concerned:
Provided further that, where the *[employee], being the master of a ship or a seaman or the captain or a member of the crew of an aircraft or a *[employee] in a motor vehicle or a company, meets with the accident outside India any such matter may be done by or before a Commissioner for the area in which the owner or agent of the ship, aircraft or motor vehicle resides or carries on business or the registered office of the company is situate, as the case may be.
(1A) If a Commissioner, other than the Commissioner with whom any money has been deposited under section 8, proceeds with a matter under this Act, the former may for the proper disposal of the matter call for transfer of any records or moneys remaining with the latter and on receipt of such a request, he shall comply with the same.
(2) If a Commissioner is satisfied that any matter arising out of any proceedings pending before him can be more conveniently dealt with by any other Commissioner, whether in the same State or not, he may, subject to rules made under this Act, order such matter to be transferred to such other Commissioner either for report or for disposal, and, if he does so, shall forthwith transmit to such other Commissioner all documents relevant for the decision of such matter and, where the matter is transferred for disposal, shall also transmit in the prescribed manner any money remaining in his hands or invested by him for the benefit of any party to the proceedings:
Provided that the Commissioner shall not, where any party to the proceedings has appeared before him, make any order of transfer relating to the distribution among dependants of a lump sum without giving such party an opportunity of being heard:
(3) The Commissioner to whom any matter is so transferred shall, subject to rules made under this Act, inquire there into and, if the matter was transferred for report, return his report thereon or, if the matter was transferred for disposal, continue the proceedings as if they had originally commenced before him.
(4) On receipt of a report from a Commissioner to whom any matter has been transferred for report under sub-section (2), the Commissioner by whom it was referred shall decide the matter referred in conformity with such report.
(5) The State Government may transfer any matter from any Commissioner appointed by it to any other Commissioner appointed by it.
22. Form of application.- (1) Where an accident occurs in respect of which liability to pay compensation under this Act arises, a claim for such compensation may, subject to the provisions of this Act, be made before the Commissioner.
(1A) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (1), no application for the settlement of any matter by Commissioner, other than an application by a dependant or dependants for compensation, shall be made unless and until some question has arisen between the parties in connection therewith which they have been unable to settle by agreement.
(2) An application to a Commissioner may be made in such form and shall be accompanied by such fee, if any, as may be prescribed, and shall contain, in addition to any particulars which may be prescribed, the following particulars namely:–
(a) a concise statement of the circumstances in which the application is made and the relief or order which the applicant claims;
(b) in the case of a claim for compensation against an employer, the date of service of notice of the accident on the employer and, if such notice has not been served or has not been served in due time, the reason for such omission;
(c) the names and addresses of the parties; and
(d) except in the case of an application by dependants for compensation a concise statement of the matters on which agreement has and of those on which agreement has not been come to.
(3) If the applicant is illiterate or for any other reason is unable to furnish the required information in writing, the application shall, if the applicant so desires, be prepared under the direction of the Commissioner.
22A. Power of Commissioner to require further deposit in cases of fatal accident.-
(1) Where any sum has been deposited by an employer as compensation payable in respect of a *[employee] whose injury has resulted in death, and in the opinion of the Commissioner such sum is insufficient, the Commissioner may, by notice in writing stating his reasons, call upon the employer to show cause why he should not make a further deposit within such time as may be stated in the notice.
(2) If the employer fails to show cause to the satisfaction of the Commissioner, the Commissioner may make an award determining the total amount payable, and requiring the employer to deposit the deficiency.
23. Powers and procedure of Commissioners.- The Commissioner shall have all the powers of a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), for the purpose of taking evidence on oath (which such Commissioner is hereby empowered to impose) and of enforcing the attendance of witnesses and compelling the production of documents and material objects, and the Commissioner shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of section 195 and of Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).
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.
25. Method of recording evidence.- The Commissioner shall make a brief memorandum of the substance of the evidence of every witness as the examination of the witness proceeds, and such memorandum shall be written and signed by the Commissioner with his own hand and shall form part of the record:
Provided that, if the Commissioner is prevented from making such memorandum, he shall record the reason of his inability to do so and shall cause such memorandum to be made in writing from his dictation and shall sign the same, and such memorandum shall form part of the record:
Provided further that the evidence of any medical witness shall be taken down as nearly as may be word for word.
25A. Time limit for disposal of cases relating to compensation.- The Commissioner shall dispose of the matter relating to compensation under this Act within a period of three months from the date of reference and intimate the decision in respect thereof within the said period to the employee.]
26. Cost – All costs, incidental to any proceedings before a Commissioner, shall, subject to rules made under this Act, be in the discretion of the Commissioner.
27. Power to submit cases.- A Commissioner may, if he thinks fit, submit any question of law for the decision of the High Court and, if he does so, shall decide the question in conformity with such decision.
28. Registration of agreements.- (1) Where the amount of any lamp sum payable as compensation has been settled by agreement whether by way of redemption of a half-monthly payment or otherwise, or where any compensation has been so settled as being payable to a woman, or a person under a legal disability a memorandum thereof shall be sent by the employer to the Commissioner, who shall, on being satisfied as to its genuineness, record the memorandum in a register in the prescribed manner:
(a) no such memorandum shall be recorded before seven days after communication by the Commissioner of notice to the parties concerned;
(b) Omitted by Act 5 of 1929;
(c) the Commissioner may at any time rectify the register;
(d) where it appears to the Commissioner that an agreement as to the payment of a lump sum whether by way of redemption of a half-monthly payment or otherwise, or an agreement as to the amount of compensation payable, to a woman or a person under a legal disability ought not to be registered by reason of the inadequacy of the sum or amount, or by reason of the agreement having been obtained by fraud or undue influence or other improper means, he may refuse to record the memorandum of the agreement and may make such order, including an order as to any sum already paid under the agreement, as he thinks just in the circumstances.
(2) An agreement for the payment of compensation which has been registered under sub-section (1) shall be enforceable under this Act notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Contract Act, 1872 (9 of 1872), or in any other law for the time being in force.
29. Effect of failure to register agreement.- Where a memorandum of any agreement the registration of which is required by section 28, is not sent to the Commissioner as required by that section, the employer shall be liable to pay the full amount of compensation which he is liable to pay under the provisions of this Act, and notwithstanding anything contained in the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 4, shall not, unless the Commissioner otherwise directs, be entitled to deduct more than half of any amount paid to the *[employee] by way of compensation whether under the agreement or otherwise.
30. Appeals –
(1) An appeal shall lie to the High Court from the following orders of a Commissioner, namely:–
(a) an order awarding as compensation a lump sum whether by way of redemption of a half-monthly payment or otherwise or disallowing a claim in full or in part for a lump sum;
(aa) an order awarding interest or penalty under section 4A;
(b) an order refusing to allow redemption of a half-monthly payment;
(c) an order providing for the distribution of compensation among the dependants of a deceased *[employee], or disallowing any claim of a person alleging himself to be such dependant;
(d) an order allowing or disallowing any claim for the amount of an indemnity under the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 12; or
(e) an order refusing to register a memorandum of agreement or registering the same or providing for the registration of the same subject to conditions:
Provided that no appeal shall lie against any order unless a substantial question of law is involved in the appeal, and in the case of an order other than an order such as is referred to in clause (b), unless the amount in dispute in the appeal is not less than **ten thousand rupees or such higher amount as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify :
Provided further that no appeal shall lie in any case in which the parties have agreed to abide by the decision of the Commissioner, or in which the order of the Commissioner gives effect to an agreement come to by the parties:
Provided further that no appeal by an employer under clause (a) shall lie unless the memorandum of appeal is accompanied by a certificate by the Commissioner to the effect that the appellant has deposited with him the amount payable under the order appealed against.
(2) The period of limitation for an appeal under this section shall be sixty days.
(3) The provisions of section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 (36 of 1963)], shall be applicable to appeals under this section.
30A. omitted by Act 11 of 2017
31. The Commissioner may recover as an arrear of land-revenue any amount payable by any person under this Act, whether under an agreement for the payment of compensation or otherwise, and the Commissioner shall be deemed to be a public officer within the meaning of section 5 of the Revenue Recovery Act, 1890 (1 of 1890).