This case relates to 20 workers of Amreli district belonging to four different talukas — Savarkundla, Lathi, Jaffrabad and Dhari. They had filed applications under the workers’ insurance scheme with the district labour officer. The forms were sent to Gandhinagar for clearance. Eight months later, the Director (Insurance) Gandhinagar, rejected the applications saying these were not backed up with necessary documentary proof.
On coming to know about this, Nyayika filed an RTI application to find out how many workers had applied for the insurance scheme in Amreli district, how many were cleared, and how many were pending. Within one month, Nyayika received the reply. It called a meeting in Amreli of the workers whose applications were rejected. About 40 of them turned up for the meeting. During the meeting, the applicants gave reasons for rejection. The main reason cited was insufficient documentary proof.
Nyayika felt that the workers should come under the definition of a consumer as under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, as they were consumers of the insurance scheme. A reply was sought through the Consumer Court from the
Director (Insurance), Gandhinagar, as to why the applications were rejected. The Director (Insurance) gave reasons which included lack of documentary proof, such as valid identity card from the District Labour Officer, as the main reason. Another argument was failure of the District Labour Officer to send the applications on time.
Twenty of the applicants agreed to file affidavits before the Consumer Court. Nyayika replied to each of the arguments. The consumer court was told, for instance, that the applications should not be counted from the date of the accident
but beginning of the dispute. It was also argued with if the workers did not have identity card, this was the district labour officer’s problem. Besides, the workers had certificates from the respective village Talatis or Taluka Mamlatdars and that these should be treated as valid. Finally, the Court ruled in Nyayika’s favour, and each of the 20 workers were granted Rs1 lakh as insurance amount in addition to Rs 25,000 as interest for delayed payment. Fees collected by Nyayika was Rs. 8000 from each applicant.
The case had a direct impact on Director (Insurance) Gandhinagar, who used to evade giving proper replies. He was forced to become more vigilant. He used to be summoned to the Consumer Court several times and had to come all the way to Amreli. The workers became aware of the need for identity card, and they came to know that they could approach the Consumer Court to get the insurance money.