A division bench of the Kerala High Court has ruled that a government employee who gets injured while travelling to work or back from office will be able to secure disability leave.
The bench presided by Justice Ak Jayasankaran Nambiar, and Justice Mohammed Nias CP, dismissed the appeal by the state government against a single bench’s judgement on Shylaja K Unnithan’s petition.
Shylaja, a teacher at W Higher Secondary School at Thamarakkulam in Alappuzha, had met with an accident while travelling from home to school at 9 a.m. on August 17, 2012. She was critically injured and was hospitalised immediately and discharged after four months, on December 16, 2012.
She had applied for special disability leave as stated in clauses 97 and 98 of Kerala Service Rules (KSR) but the application was dismissed by the state government. She promptly approached the High Court as a response to the rejection.
The single bench had appealed to the government for a reconsideration, but the plea was rejected. The state government explained that since the injury wasn’t caused in or in consequence of Shylaja’s performance at work, she wasn’t eligible for the benefits of the disability leave.
However, the bench dismissed this reasoning, and said that the government cannot just interpret the rules in KRC in a narrow, and restrictive manner. They cannot deny a person the special disability leave if that person happens to be travelling to work from their home, and happens to meet with an accident on the way.