LHC orders private company to compensate miner

Miner Mohammad Ismail, 25, digs in a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. Workers at this mine in Choa Saidan Shah dig coal with pick axes, break it up and load it onto donkeys to be transported to the surface. Employed by private contractors, a team of four workers can dig about a ton of coal a day, for which they earn around $10 to be split between them. The coalmine is in the heart of Punjab, Pakistan's most populous and richest province, but the labourers mostly come from the poorer neighbouring region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Picture taken April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Farid (PAKISTAN - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY ENERGY)

–Ghulam Muhammad had contracted lung disease during his work at coal mine in Chakwal


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Sunday awarded compensation of Rs100,000 to a coal mine worker, Ghulam Muhammad, who had suffered a rare infectious lung disease pulmonary koch while working for a private company in the Chakwal’s Choa Saidan area.

Although the said disease is not included in the schedule of Workmen Compensation Act 1923, LHC’s Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi had appointed Advocate Sheraz Zaka as amicus curae (friend of court) to assist the court in the case.

Zaka maintained that despite a statutory bar, it is the fundamental right of every citizen to claim compensation if affected during the course of work.

The court further noted that the coal mine workers perform their duties in places with compressed conditions owing to the lack of enforcement of safety laws, which is the duty of the government to ensure, and particularly that of deputy commissioners.

It was further argued that the authorities concerned are not doing enough to implement precautionary measures laid down by the Mines Act 1923.

With Pakistan being a member of International Labour Organisation (ILO) and as many as 36 international conventions related to labour rights’ protection, it is the duty of the state to make relevant amendments in the existing legal framework according to the changing conditions and advancements, it was remarked.