Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Division Bench comprising M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., reinstated All India Chess Federation (AICF) secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan till August 15, who was restrained from acting as the secretary by the Delhi High Court.  

The Court took the decision in the light of the fact that a prestigious Chess Olympiad is to be held in the country and the same should not be affected because of any structural anomaly in the National Sports Federation (NSF). 

Noticeably, the Central Government had by an order dated 21-04-2022 extended the accreditation of the AICF as a National Sports Federation. 

Factual Backdrop 

Bharat Singh Chauhan, the appellant herein, had held the position of the post of Secretary of the NSF from 2017 to 2021. In the Letters Patent Appeal (LPA), the Delhi High Court held that in terms of the Sports Code, he ought to have secured the two-thirds majority of the members of the NSF for his second successive term.  

However, in the elections for the period 2020-2023, he had secured merely 35 votes, which was not the two-thirds majority, as it should have been 44 votes out of the total number of 64 votes polled.  The High Court observed that the appellant was declared elected for the second successive tenure in 2021 to the same position but without having secured the two-thirds majority, which was against the Sports Code. Hence, the High Court held that the appellant could not be recognized as or continue as Secretary of NSF.  

Contentions Raised 

Aggrieved, the appellant had assailed the impugned order of the Delhi High Court on the ground that the High Court had passed the impugned order in haste, without giving any sufficient opportunity either to the appellant or to the Union Government.  

The appellant also contended that the High Court had entertained the LPA even when the main writ petition was pending before the Single Judge, which is not maintainable. Further, the appellant submitted that the Single Judge had rejected the prayer for interim relief, awaiting the further affidavit to be filed on behalf of the Union of India and the question in respect of interim injunction was yet to be considered by the single Judge.  

Conclusion  

In the light of the above facts and contentions, the Court allowed the Central Government and the appellant to file a detailed affidavit before the Division Bench of the High Court in LPA within a period of four weeks. The High Court was directed to pass a fresh order thereafter, including the grant of any interim order after giving an opportunity to all the concerned within a period of four weeks thereafter. 

Noting that the Nation is holding a prestigious Chess Olympiad in the Country from 28-07-2022 to 10-08-2022, the Court directed the appellant to be continued as a Secretary of the Federation till 15-08-2022 by way of interim arrangement only to ensure that the program may not be affected further in any manner.  

[Bharat Singh Chauhan v. Ravindra Dongre, C.A. No. 4528 of 2022, decided on 08-06-2022]  


Appearance by:  

For Appellant: Maninder Singh, Senior Advocate, Prabhas Bajaj, Advocate and Ranjeeta Rohatgi, AOR  

For Respondent(s): Sanjay K. Chadha, Advocate, and D.K. Sinha, AOR 


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together  

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme court: In a long ongoing battle between Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and its temporary/badli/part-time employees over claim for absorption, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, JJ has appointed a two member committee to carry out fresh verification of the claims of workers who were working between 20 May 1985 and 4 March 1991 and who claim to have been employed for at least 70 days in Class IV posts over a period of three years or 85 days in Class III posts over a period of two years shall be carried out.

The Committee will consist of:

  • Justice P K S Baghel, former Judge of the Allahabad High Court; and
  • Rajiv Sharma, former District Judge and member of the UPHJS

In a 90-pages-long verdict that led to the aforementioned conclusion, the Court observed,

“The dispute is now of an antiquity tracing back to nearly four decades. Finality has to be wrung down on the dispute to avoid uncertainty and more litigation. Nearly thirty-one years have elapsed since 1991. We have come to the conclusion that the claims of those workers who are duly found upon verification to meet the threshold conditions of eligibility should be resolved by the award of monetary compensation in lieu of absorption, and in full and final settlement of all claims and demands.”

Background

The genesis of the present dispute relates to a demand raised by the Unions on 4 March 1991, pertaining to the claim for regularisation of those workers who were employed India with LIC as temporary/badli/part-time workers from 20 May 1985 till the date of reference on 4 March 1991.

The Central Government Industrial Tribunal (CGIT) which was presided over by K S Srivastav, directed that the temporary, badli and part-time workers who were employed after 20 May 1985 should be granted absorption on the same terms and conditions as was stipulated in the Tulpule and Jamdar Awards (in respect of workers who were employed from 1 January 1982 to 20 May 1985). LIC was directed to publish a notice in the newspapers for inviting applications from individual workers for absorption. If no regular vacancy was available, the award directed supernumerary posts to be created.

The Delhi High Court, however, set aside the said award.

On 12 December 2018, while dealing with the batch of contempt petitions, a two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court directed the CGIT to “look into the matter with regard to the claims made by the Union(s) individual workmen”. As many as 15,500 claims were submitted on behalf of the Unions, Associations and individual workers claiming absorption and the benefit of the Srivastav Award dated 18 June 2001. The CGIT submitted its report i.e. the Dogra Report on 31 May 2019.

The Dogra Report was primarily challenged by LIC on the ground that, as a consequence of the same, LIC would be required to regularise about 11,780 workers who claim to have worked for a limited number of days. No verification of these claims has been done either by the LIC or by the CGIT in the Dogra Report. This would amount to an illegal backdoor entry, which would be contrary to the statutory regulations framed by the LIC. Further, LIC would also face the issue of a lack of sanctioned posts for these workers.

Supreme Court’s Ruling

Dogra Report is Flawed

Holding the Dogra Report to be flawed, the Supreme Court observed,

“LIC as a statutory corporation is bound by the mandate of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. As a public employer, the recruitment process of the corporation must meet the constitutional standard of a fair and open process. Allowing for back-door entries into service is an anathema to public service”

The Court found the Dogra Report to be flawed as,

(a) It failed to carry out an accurate verification of only those Class III workers who had put in at least 85 days of work in a period of two years and Class IV workers who had put in 70 days of work in a period of three years;

(b) The lists which are appended to the report contain patent inconsistencies and errors as a consequence of a failure to carry out an adequate verification; and

(c) The report accepted the claims for absorption of those workers who were specifically governed by the decision of this Court in E Prabavathy v. LIC[1], in spite of an express stipulation to the contrary in the order of the Supreme Court as well as in paragraph 75 of the Srivastav Award;

It was, hence, held that,

“A public employer such as LIC cannot be directed to carry out a mass absorption of over 11,000 workers on such flawed premises without following a recruitment process which is consistent with the principles of equality of opportunity governed by Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. Such an absorption would provide the very back-door entry, which negates the principle of equal opportunity and fairness in public employment.”

Directions

  • A fresh verification of the claims of workers who claim to have been employed for at least 70 days in Class IV posts over a period of three years or 85 days in Class III posts over a period of two years shall be carried out;
  • The verification shall be confined to persons who were working between 20 May 1985 and 4 March 1991;
  • All persons who are found to be eligible on the above norm shall be entitled to compensation computed at the rate of Rs 50,000 for every year of service or part thereof. The payment of compensation at the above rate shall be in lieu of reinstatement, and in full and final settlement of all claims and demands of the workers in lieu of regularisation or absorption;
  • In carrying out the process of verification, the Committee appointed by this Court shall not be confined to the certified list before the CGIT and shall consider the claims of all workers who were engaged between 20 May 1985 and 4 March 1991;
  • For the purpose of verification, LIC shall make available all the records at the Divisional level to the Committee appointed by this Court;
  • It will be open to the workers concerned or, as the case may be, the Unions and Associations representing them, to make available such documentary material in their possession for the purpose of verification;
  • The process of verification shall be carried out independently without regard to the Dogra Report, which is held to be flawed;
  • The payment of compensation in lieu of reinstatement shall be effected by LIC within a period of three months from the date of receipt of the report of verification by the Committee

[Ranbir Singh v. SK Roy, Chairman, Life Insurance Corporation of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 521, decided on 27.04.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud


Counsels

For LIC: Senior Advocate ANS Nadkarni

For Unions, Associations and workers: Senior Advocates Dr Manish Singhvi, Pallav Sishodia, R Singaravelan, V Prakash and Salman Khurshid and Advocates Nandakumar, Rakesh Shukla and Shailesh Madiyal


[1] SLP (Civil) No 10393 of 1992

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: Biren Vaishnav, J. allowed a petition which was filed challenging the order of termination passed by the respondent – authority, by which, the services as Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspector, Class-III of the petitioner has been terminated on the ground of lodging of an FIR under Sections 7, 8, 12, 13(1)(D) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that even otherwise summary report has been filed in context of the FIR in question, the short ground on which the petitioner has assailed the order of termination that it was contrary to the law laid down in a decision rendered by the Division Bench of this Court dated 24-07-2020 rendered in Letters Patent Appeal No.1596 of 2019 in case of State of Gujarat v. Chetan Jayantilal Rajgor where the Court had explained the importance of full scale inquiry before any action could be taken by the authority against the accused.

The Court considered the decision relied on by the counsel of the petitioner and quashed the order of termination. The petition was allowed and the respondent-authority was directed to reinstate the petitioner without back-wages within ten weeks from the date of order. It was further clarified that respondent authorities will not be precluded from proceeding against the petitioner for the alleged misconduct.[Hiren Dahyabhai Rathod v. State of Gujarat, R/Special Civil Application No. 15471 of 2020, decided on 13-04-2022]


Mr Jit P Patel for the Petitioner(s) 1

Mr Krutik Parikh, AGP for the Respondent(s) 1


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where a bank employee was dismissed from services despite lack of evidence, the bench of KM Joseph and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ has directed his reinstatement and has held that  even in departmental proceedings, there had to be some overt evidence, and not mere suspicion, to support a valid finding of complicity of the employee.

In the case at hand, it was alleged that the respondent had disbursed loan in favour of twelve fictitious persons in connection with the Integrated Rural Development Project and had misappropriated the amount of ₹ 60,000/- forming the subsidy component, (of the total ₹ 1,20,000/- disbursed to the beneficiaries).

Interestingly, his colleague who confessed to the misconduct, was charged and proceeded with departmentally. The confession of guilt, which he owned up to, nevertheless resulted in a mild penalty of withholding of increments. However, the respondent, who did not admit his guilt, or confess to it, and in respect of whom there was no credible evidence, even going by the lower standards of acceptable proof in departmental inquires, was held to be guilty and visited with the penalty of dismissal.

The supreme Court noticed that

“A reading of the disciplinary authority’s order reveals that his past record of minor misconduct played a major role in determining his guilt, despite lack of evidence, and the extreme penalty of dismissal.”

The Court observed that in the present case, the confessional statement was not by the respondent. Hence, best then, that document bound the authors, not third parties, like the respondent.

“The enquiry officer clearly erred by relying on such extraneous matters, as the respondent could not be made a scapegoat for the confession of others, especially with regard to his role. The bank’s charge about his complicity had to be proved by evidence. This document, containing others’ confession, could not have been used against him.”

The Court hence directed the Bank to reinstate the respondent, and calculate all his benefits, including arrears of salary, pay increase (as applicable), increments, and all consequential benefits, and calculate his terminal benefits, and fix his pension, if admissible to him under the bank’s regulations. The determination of these benefits shall be undertaken, and the payment of all amounts be made, within three months.

[United Bank of India v. Biswanath Bhattacharjee, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 108, decided on 31.01.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice S. Ravindra Bhat


Counsels

For respondent: Advocate Kunal Chatterji

Jharkhand High Court
Case Briefs

Jharkhand High Court: Deepak Roshan, J., partly allowed the challenge against the order of the Disciplinary Authority whereby the petitioner had been dismissed from service on account of dereliction of duty. Noticing that the charges framed against the petitioner were vague the Bench stated,

“…even if the delinquent does not take the defence or make a protest that the charges are vague; that does not save the enquiry from being vitiated for the reason that there must be fair play in action.”

The brief facts of the case were that the petitioner was appointed on compassionate ground as Constable. While the petitioner was posted at Dhanbad, a departmental proceeding was initiated against alleging dereliction of duty. The charges were framed against the petitioner which inter alia, alleged unauthorized leave for 2 days, and that the petitioner was a habitual drunker and frequently threatens the superior officer resulting in dereliction of duty and insubordination.

The enquiry proceeding was conducted wherein the charges were declared proved and resultantly, the petitioner was dismissed from service. Though the petitioner had challenged the impugned order, both the superior Authorities rejected the claim of the petitioner for reinstatement.

After going through the enquiry report it the Bench observed that the only proved part of the charge was that petitioner left the place of work in the evening on 22-09-2009 without any permission of leave or without any information to the superior officer which is not permissible in the respondents department. However, the other parts of the charge that he usually remains under the influence of liquor could not be proved in a sense that the same was vague in nature. The Bench remarked,

“In the entire charge-sheet there is no reference, whatsoever, as to when the petitioner was under the influence of liquor. On the one hand, neither any medical test was done nor the respondent has done earlier any medical examination to find out as to whether the petitioner was ever under the influence of liquor.”

Similarly, the last part of the charge that after taking liquor the petitioner frequently threatens the superior officer; was also vague, inasmuch as, there was no date or the name of the officer to whom the petitioner had ever assaulted under the influence of liquor.

Relying on the decisions of the Supreme Court in State of A.P. v. S. Sree Rama Rao, AIR (1963) SC 1723, Sawai Singh v. State of Rajasthan, (1986) 3 SCC 454 and in Anil Gilurker v. Bilaspur Raipur Kshetriya Gramin Bank, (2011) 14 SCC 379, the Bench stated that the law is well settled that even in a domestic enquiry, the charges must be clear, definite and specific as it would be difficult for any delinquent to meet the vague charges. Evidence adduced should not be obligatory even if the delinquent does not take the defence or make a protest that the charges are vague; that does not save the enquiry from being vitiated for the reason that there must be fair play in action, particularly, in respect of an order involving adverse or penal consequences.

Further, noticing that during pendency of appeal before the Director General of Police; a recommendation was made by the ADGP (Headquarter) to inflict minor punishment for two days absent such as stoppage of increment etc., the Bench opined that the such recommendation strengthened the fact that even the respondent authorities were aware that the charges were vague and only for absence of two days of dereliction of duty, termination of service was highly excessive.

Consequently, the impugned order of termination was quashed and set aside along with the appellate order and the revisional order. The petitioner was directed to be reinstated in service and the matter was remitted back to the respondent authority to pass a fresh order only on the quantum of punishment for unauthorised absent from duty. [Ranjit Kumar v. State of Jharkhand,  2021 SCC OnLine Jhar 893, decided on 02-12-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance by:

For the Petitioner: Amritansh Vats, Advocate

For the State: Ashok Yadav, Advocate

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: While hearing the appeal filed by Maharashtra SRTC, the Division Bench comprising of M. R. Shah* and B. V. Nagarathna, JJ., held that punishment of dismissal from service per se cannot be said to be an unfair labour practice for being disproportionate to the misconduct proved.

Background

On 23-10-1992 when the respondent, a bus driver employed by the MSRTC, was driving a bus, he met with an accident with a jeep coming from the opposite direction. The allegation against the respondent-driver was that instead of taking the bus to the left side, he took the bus to the extreme right and as a result, the jeep and the bus collided. The accident resulted in death of four passengers on the spot and six passengers were seriously injured. The impact of the collision was so high that the jeep was pushed back by about 25 feet. The driver of the jeep also sustained injuries. The respondent was subjected to disciplinary enquiry, and was consequently dismissed from service. A criminal case was also lodged against the driver under Section 279 of IPC for negligent and rash driving. However, he came to be acquitted.

Findings of the Labour Court and Industrial Tribunal

The Labour Court upheld the order of dismissal. In a revision application the Industrial Tribunal considering the acquittal of the respondent in criminal proceedings and observing that the drivers of both the vehicles were negligent (contributory negligence), the Industrial Tribunal exercised powers under item 1(g) of Schedule IV of the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971; and held that the order of dismissal was disproportionate to the misconduct proved. Hence, the Tribunal ordered reinstatement of the respondent without back wages but with continuity of service.

Dismissal by the High Court

The order of the Tribunal was challenged before the High Court by the appellant-MSRTC. The High Court, by the impugned order and judgment had only dismissed the appeal but also directed the appellant to pay to the respondent back wages with effect from 01-11-2003 to 31-05-2018 i.e. which was the date of his superannuation. The High Court also directed that the respondent should also be entitled to retiral benefits on the basis of continuity of service.

Factual Analysis

Noticing that while acquitting the accused–respondent the Criminal Court observed that the prosecution failed to prove that the incident occurred due to rash and negligent driving of the accused-respondent only and none else, and acquitted the respondent by classifying the case as one of a contributory negligence, the Bench stated that even if it was assumed that even driver of the jeep was also negligent, that did not that the respondent was not negligent at all. Hence, it could not absolve him of the misconduct.

Further, the Criminal Court acquitted the respondent on the hostility of the witnesses; the evidence led by the interested witnesses; lacuna in examination of the investigating officer; panch for the spot panchnama of the incident, etc. On the contrary in the departmental proceedings the misconduct of driving the vehicle rashly and negligently which caused accident and due to which four persons died has been established and proved. Therefore, the Bench said,

“An acquittal in a criminal trial has no bearing or relevance on the disciplinary proceedings as the standard of proof in both the cases are different and the proceedings operate in different fields and with different objectives.”

Therefore, the Bench concluded that the Industrial Court had erred in giving much stress on the acquittal of the respondent by the criminal court.

Whether punishment of dismissal can be said to be an unfair labour practice for being disproportionate to the misconduct proved?

The Bench observed that the Labour Court did not interfere with the order of dismissal by giving cogent reasons and after re-appreciating the entire evidence on record including the order of acquittal passed by the criminal court. However, the Industrial Tribunal interfered with the order of dismissal solely on the ground that punishment of dismissal was disproportionate to the misconduct proved and the same can be said to be to be unfair labour practice as per item 1(g) of Schedule IV of the MRTU & PULP Act, 1971. The Bench stated,

Clause No. 1(g) can only be invoked in a case where it is found that dismissal of an employee is for misconduct of a minor or technical character, without having any regard to the nature of the particular misconduct or the past record of service of the employee, so as to amount to a shockingly disproportionate punishment.

However, as per the appellant, the respondent was in service for three years and during three years’ service tenure he was punished four times, therefore, the Bench opined that it could not be said that the order of dismissal was without having any regard to the past record of the service of the respondent. Consequently, the Industrial Court wrongly invoked clause 1(g) of Schedule IV of the MRTU & PULP Act, 1971 as it could not be said that the dismissal of the respondent was for misconduct of a minor or technical character, without having any regard to the nature of the misconduct.

Conclusion

In the backdrop of above, the Bench concluded that the Industrial Court committed a grave error and had exceeded in its jurisdiction while interfering with the order of dismissal passed by the disciplinary authority. Similarly, the impugned judgment of the High Court directing the appellant to pay wages to the respondent also could not have been passed in a petition filed by the appellant. The Bench explained, it was not a petition filed by the workman and the relief granted was beyond the scope and ambit of the controversy before the High Court.

Accordingly, the impugned order and judgment was quashed and set aside and the judgment and Award of the Labour Court was restored. The order of dismissal passed by the disciplinary authority was upheld.

[Maharashtra SRTC v. Dilip Uttam Jayabhay, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1, decided on 03-01-2022]


*Judgment by: Justice M. R. Shah


Appearance by:

For Maharashtra SRTC: Mayuri Raghuvanshi, Advocate

For the Respondent: Nishanth Patil, Advocate


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together


 

Jharkhand High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, J. while holding the reason assigned by the Director-General of Police (DGP) while rejecting the claim of the petitioner to review the order of his suspension bad in law, directed the DGP to reconsider the matter.

The petitioner had preferred this writ petition for quashing the order of the Director-General of Police, Government of Jharkhand, whereby, the revision application preferred against the order passed by the Inspector General of Police had been affirmed.

The petitioner, a Sub-Inspector was alleged to have shot his wife dead and was charged with offences under Section 302 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Section 27 of the Arms Act, 1959. Pursuant to which the petitioner was suspended from service and a show cause notice was issued. Meanwhile, the Trial Court convicted and sentenced the petitioner to undergo life imprisonment in the said case and accordingly, the inquiry report was submitted in the departmental proceeding.

The petitioner assailed the impugned order on the ground that in the departmental proceeding, inquiry report was submitted only on the ground that the petitioner had been convicted by the Trial Court and without adducing any evidence in the departmental proceeding, the inquiry report was submitted without giving him any opportunity, hence, the same was against the principle of natural justice. Moreover, the petitioner was acquitted by the High Court in an appeal against the judgment of the Trial Court.

On the contrary, the State argued that the departmental proceeding and criminal proceeding are two different subjects and parameters of both the proceedings are different. Merely on the ground that the petitioner had been acquitted in the criminal case by the High Court, the case of the petitioner could not be considered for reinstatement.

Noticeably, when the inquiry report was submitted in the departmental proceeding, the petitioner was being treated in Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry & Allied Sciences (RINPAS), for mental illness (Schizophrenia), which was why reply to the show-cause had not been received. Considering the stand taken by the State that the Director General of Police had rejected the revision application of the petitioner after acquittal by the High Court, on the ground that the High Court had not directed for reinstatement of the petitioner in service while acquitting the petitioner, the Bench stated that,

“It is well known that the High Court while acquitting the petitioner has decided the criminal case only and the authority concerned has to consider the reinstatement of the petitioner in service while passing a reasoned order.”

From the inquiry report, it transpired that the petitioner was being treated in RINPAS and the inquiry report had been submitted only taking into consideration that the petitioner had been convicted by the Trial Court. Hence, the Bench held that the reason assigned by the Director General of Police while rejecting the claim of the petitioner did not sound good.

In the light of above, the impugned order was quashed and the matter was remitted to the Director General of Police to consider the case of the petitioner afresh and pass a reasoned order.  [Anil Kumar Singh v. State of Jharkhand, W.P. (S) No. 6342 of 2017, decided on 10-09-2020]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For the Petitioner: Mr. Diwakar Upadhyay, Advocate

For the Respondent-State: Mr. Rahul Kamlesh, A.C. to SC.-VI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where an employee of the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam had suppressed the material facts of conviction in a case of trivial nature and penalty at the time of applying for the post, the bench of MR Shah* and AS Bopanna, JJ, has held that the reinstating such a person will be wholly untenable and unjustified as the question in such cases is of trust.

“The question is not about whether an employee was involved in a dispute of trivial nature and whether he has been subsequently acquitted or not. The question is about the credibility and/or trustworthiness of such an employee who at the initial stage of the employment, i.e., while submitting the declaration/verification and/or applying for a post made false declaration and/or not disclosing and/or suppressing material fact of having involved in a criminal case.”

Brief Facts

  • The respondent was appointed to the post of Technical Helper. The appointment of the respondent was subject to production of a character certification/verification report issued by the Superintendent of Police of the concerned District where he belongs.
  • On 5.8.2013, he was convicted by the Trial Court for the offences under Sections 341 and 323 IPC, however, given the benefit under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958.
  • The respondent suppressed the material facts of conviction and penalty at the time of applying for the post in 2013 and also submitting a false declaration at the time of documents verification on 14.04.2015
  • While giving the benefit of Act 1958, the respondent-employee was ordered to be released on probation for good conduct.
  • Even subsequently such conviction of the respondent was confirmed, however, the Sessions Judge vide judgment dated 09.09.2015 granted the benefit of Section 12 of the Act 1958 to the respondent-employee which provides that a person shall not suffer disqualification attaching to the conviction.
  • On 06.05.2016, the respondent was terminated from the services for non-disclosure of material facts.

Some important judgments on employer’s right to terminate employee for non-disclosure of material facts

Secretary, Department of Home Secretary, A.P. v. B. Chinnam Naidu, (2005) 2 SCC 746

When a candidate suppresses material information and/or gives false information, he cannot claim any right for appointment or continuance in service.

Devendra Kumar v. State of Uttaranchal, (2013) 9 SCC 363

The pendency of a criminal case/proceeding is different from suppressing the information of such pendency. The case pending against a person might not involve moral turpitude but suppressing of this information itself amounts to moral turpitude. It is further observed that the information sought by the employer if not disclosed as required, would definitely amount to suppression of material information and in that eventuality, the service becomes liable to be terminated, even if there had been no further trial or the person concerned stood acquitted/discharged.

Daya Shankar Yadav v. Union of India, (2010) 14 SCC 103

An employee can be discharged from service or a prospective employee may be refused employment on the ground of … suppression of material information or making false statement in reply to queries relating to prosecution or conviction for a criminal offence (even if he was ultimately acquitted in the criminal case).

Avtar Singh v. Union of India, (2016) 8 SCC 471

Even in cases where a truthful disclosure about a concluded case was made, the employer would still have a right to consider antecedents of the candidate and could not be compelled to appoint such candidate.

Ruling

The Court took note of the important fact that on the date of submitting an application and even at the time when declaration was filed on 14.04.2015, there was already an order of conviction against him. Even at the relevant time, the benefit of Section 12 of the Act 1958 was not granted to the respondent, which was given subsequently vide judgment of the Sessions Court dated 09.09.2015.

Further, from the judgment and order passed by the Sessions Court, it appeared that only submission on behalf of the respondent was with respect to granting the benefit of Section 12 of the Act 1958, hence, only with a view to get out of the disqualification of conviction, belatedly he preferred an appeal and obtained the order of granting the benefit of Section 12 of the Act 1958.

“Even otherwise, it is required to be noted that on getting the benefit of Section 12 of the Act 1958 subsequently by that itself the respondent 12 cannot get away of the allegations of suppression of material fact and filing a false declaration that neither any criminal case is pending against him nor he has been convicted by any court of law, which was filed on 14.04.2015.”

The Court held that if the correct facts would have been disclosed, the employer might not have appointed him. The question is of TRUST. Therefore, in such a situation, where the employer feels that an employee who at the initial stage itself has made a false statement and/or not disclosed the material facts and/or suppressed the material facts and therefore he cannot be continued in service because such an employee cannot be relied upon even in future, the employer cannot be forced to continue such an employee.

“The choice/option whether to continue or not to continue such an employee always must be given to the employer. (…) such an employee cannot claim the appointment and/or continue to be in service as a matter of right.”

The Court, hence, held that, both, the Division Bench as well as the Single Judge have clearly erred in quashing and setting aside the order of termination terminating the services of the respondent on the ground of having obtained an appointment by suppressing material fact and filing a false declaration. The order of reinstatement is wholly untenable and unjustified.

[Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited v. Anil Kanwariya, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 739, decided on 17.09.2021]

______________________________________________________________

Counsels:

Senior Advocate Dr. Manish Singhvi, for appellants

Advocate Navin Prakash, for respondent-employee


*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah

Know Thy Judge | Justice M. R. Shah

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of R. Subhash Reddy* and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ has held that reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case, where termination/dismissal is found to be not in accordance with procedure prescribed under law.

The ruling came in the matter where,

  • A Clerk-cum-Cashier was dismissed by the Allahabad Bank, alleging his involvement in the incident relating to burning of relevant Bank records.
  • The respondent was appointed in the Bank as Clerk–cum– Cashier on 23.09.1985 and he was placed under suspension on 13.02.1989 and dismissed from service vide Order dated 22.08.1991.
  • The Industrial Tribunal–cum–Labour Court found that though there was a strong suspicion, but there was no sufficient evidence to prove his misconduct to dismiss from service. However, on the ground that a case is made out by the management of loss of confidence, ordered payment of compensation of Rs.30,000/- in lieu of reinstatement.
  • The respondent, aggrieved by the award of the Industrial Tribunal–cum–Labour Court, seeking reinstatement with back wages, carried the matter to the High Court wherein it was held that suspicion, however, high may be, can under no circumstances be held a substitute to legal proof. The High Court, hence, directed reinstatement with all consequential benefits.
  • The directions issued by the High Court of Allahabad for reinstatement were stayed by this Court on 23.08.2019. During the pendency of these proceedings, the respondent – workman had attained age of superannuation.

Considering the aforementioned facts and circumstances, the Supreme Court held,

“Though, there was strong suspicion, there was no acceptable evidence on record for dismissal of the workman. However, as the workman has worked only for a period of about six years and he has already attained the age of superannuation, it is a fit case for modification of the relief granted by the High Court.”

Noticing that reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case, where termination / dismissal is found to be not in accordance with procedure prescribed under law, the Court held that in the present case, the ends of justice would be met by awarding lump sum monetary compensation. It, hence, directed payment of lump sum compensation of Rs.15 lakhs to the respondent, within a period of eight weeks, failing which, the respondent will be entitled for interest @ 6% per annum, till payment.

[Allahabad Bank v. Krishan Pal Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 751, decided on 20.09.2021]

______________________________________________

Appearances before the Court:

For Bank: Advocate Rajesh Kumar Gautam

For Respondent: Advocate Rakesh Taneja


*Judgment by: Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Know Thy Judge| Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a long awaited verdict in the Tata-Mistry Row, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has upheld the removal of Cyrus Mistry as Chairman by the Tata Sons and has also answered all questions in favour of Tata Sons. The Court said that NCLAT has, by reinstating Mistry without any pleading or prayer, has forced upon the appellant an Executive Chairman, who now is unable to support his own reinstatement.” 

The Court said,

“The relief of reinstatement granted by the Tribunal, was too big a pill even for the complainant companies, and perhaps Cyrus Mistry, to swallow.”

The dispute

From 25.06.1980 to 15.12.2004 Shri Pallonji S. Mistry, the father of Cyrus Pallonji Mistry was a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Tata Sons. On 10.08.2006 Cyrus Mistry was appointed as a Non¬Executive Director on the Board and by a Resolution of the Board of Directors of Tata Sons dated 16.03.2012, Mistry was appointed as Executive Deputy Chairman for a period of five years from 01.04.2012 to 31.03.2017, subject however to the approval of the shareholders at a General Meeting.

He was then redesignated as the Executive Chairman with effect from 29.12.2012, even while designating Ratan Tata as Chairman Emeritus.

On 24.10.2016, the Board of Directors of Tata Sons replaced Mistry with Ratan Tata as the interim NonExecutive Chairman. It is relevant to note that Mistry was replaced only from the post of Executive Chairman and it was left to his choice to continue or not, as Non¬Executive Director of Tata Sons.

As a follow up, certain things happened and by separate Resolutions passed at the meetings of the shareholders of Tata Industries Limited, Tata Consultancy Service  Limited and  Tata Teleservices Limited, Mistry was removed from Directorship of those companies.

Mistry then resigned from the Directorship of a few other operating companies such as the Indian Hotels Company Limited, Tata Steel Limited, Tata Motors Limited, Tata Chemicals Limited and Tata Power Company Limited, after coming to know of the impending resolutions to remove him from Directorship.

Thereafter, 2 companies by name, Cyrus Investments Private Limited and Sterling Investment Corporation Private Limited, in which CPM holds a controlling interest, filed a company petition before the National Company Law Tribunal under Sections 241 and 242 read with 244 of the Companies Act, 2013, on the grounds of unfair prejudice, oppression and mismanagement.

NCLT on Mistry’s removal

  • The removal of CPM as Executive Chairman of Tata Sons on 24.10.2016 and his removal as   Director on 06.02.2017, were on account of trust deficit and there was no question of a Selection Committee going into the issue of his removal. n
  • There was no material to hold that CPM was removed on account of purported legacy issues. CPM created a situation where he is not accountable either to the majority shareholders or to the Trust nominee Directors and hence his removal.
  • The letter dated 25.10.2016 issued by CPM could not have been leaked to the media by anyone other than CPM and hence his removal from Directorship on 06.02.2017 became inevitable.

NCLAT on Mistry’s removal

  • Ratan Tata was determined to remove Mistry even prior to the meeting of the board and the majority shareholders of Tata Trust knew that there was a requirement of advance notice before the removal.
  • There is nothing on the record to suggest that the Board of Directors or any of the trusts, namely— Sir Dorabji Tata Trust or the Sir Ratan Tata Trust at any time expressed displeasure about the performance of Mistry.
  • The record suggests that the removal of CPM had nothing to do with any lack of performance. On the other hand, the material on record shows that the Company under the leadership of Mistry performed well which was praised by the ‘Nomination and Remuneration Committee’ a Statutory Committee under Section 178, on 28th June, 2016 i.e. just few months before he was removed.

Supreme Court on NCLT and NCLAT’s approach

NCLT dealt with every one of the allegations of oppression and mismanagement and recorded reasoned findings. But NCLAT, despite being a final court of facts, did not deal with the allegations one by one nor did the NCLAT render any opinion on the correctness or otherwise of 64 the findings recorded by NCLT. Instead, the NCLAT summarised in one paragraph, its conclusion on some of the allegations, without any kind of reasoning.

“The allegations relating to (i) over priced and bleeding Corus acquisition (ii) doomed Nano car project (iii) undue favours to Siva and Sterling (iv) loan by Kalimati to Siva (v) sale of flat to Mehli Mistry (vi) the unjust enrichment of the companies controlled by Mehli Mistry (vii) the Aviation industry misadventures (viii) losses due to purchase of the shares of Tata Motors etc., were not individually dealt with by NCLAT, though NCLT had addressed each one of these issues and recorded findings in favour of Tata Sons. Therefore, there is no escape from the conclusion that NCLAT did  not expressly overturn the findings of facts recorded by NCLT, on these  allegations.”

Supreme Court on NCLAT’s decision to reinstate Mistry

Sections 241 and 242 of the Companies Act, 2013 do not specifically confer the power of reinstatement, nor is there any scope for holding that such a power to reinstate can be implied or inferred from any of the powers specifically conferred.

The following words at the end of sub¬section (1) of 242 “the Tribunal may, with a view to bringing to an end the matters complained of, make such order as it thinks fit” cannot be interpreted a conferring on the Tribunal any implied power of directing reinstatement of a director or other officer of the company who has been removed from such office.

“These words can only be interpreted to mean as conferring the power to make such order as the Tribunal thinks fit, where the power to make such an order is not specifically conferred but is found necessary to remove any doubts and give effect to an order for which the power is specifically conferred.”

Hence, the architecture of Sections 241 and 242 does not permit the Tribunal to read into the Sections, a power to make an order (for reinstatement) which is barred by law vide Section 14 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 with or without the amendment in 2018.

Further, NCLAT appears to have granted the relief of reinstatement gratis without any foundation in pleadings, without any prayer and without any basis in law, thereby forcing upon the appellant an Executive Chairman, who now is unable to support his own reinstatement.

Not just this, but NCLAT has gone to the extent of reinstating Mistry not only on the Board of Tata Sons, but also on the Board of Tata group companies, without they being parties, without there being any complaint against those companies under section 241 and without there being any prayer against them. These companies have followed the procedure prescribed by Statute and the Articles and they have validly passed resolutions for his removal.

For instance, TCS granted an opportunity to CPM and held a general meeting in which 93.11% of the shareholders, including public institutions who hold 57.46% of shares supported the resolution. In any case CPM’s tenure itself was to come to an end on 16.06.2017 but NCLAT passed the impugned order reinstating him “for the rest of the tenure”.

“Now by virtue of the impugned order, CPM will have to be reinstated even on the Board of companies from which he has resigned. This is why even the complainant companies have found it extremely difficult to support the order.”

Interestingly, one of the grounds of challenge to the order of NCLAT, raised by SP group in their appeal is that the Tribunal ought not to have granted the relief of reinstatement. Mistry has himself stated clearly that he had no intent to once again taken charge of Executive Chairman and Director of the Tata Group companies.

[Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. v. Cyrus Investments Private Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 272, decided on 26.03.2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: S.C. Gupte, J., addressed a group of petitions that challenged four sets of identical awards passed by Labour Courts under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

What led to Industrial Disputes and Complaints of Unfair Labour Practice?

Workmen’s case was that though the work in the factory was of perennial nature, it was performed through temporaries from a pool of workers by a rotational system, seeing it that throughout the relevant period none could complete 240 days of continuous service and thus keeping them away from secure permanent jobs.

700 workmen approached the Industrial Court with complaints of unfair labour practice invoking items 5, 6 and 10 of Schedule IV of the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971.

A group of 300 workmen chose to initiate conciliation proceedings under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 upon failure of which, the State Government referred the matters to Labour Courts for adjudication.

Issues for Consideration:

Precise issues, which arise for the consideration of this Court are as follows:

(I) Whether the termination of services of temporary workmen in the present case could be termed as termination as a result of non-renewal of the contract of employment on its expiry or under a stipulation in that behalf contained in the contract and thus, amounting to an exception to the definition of ‘retrenchment’ contained in Clause (oo) of Section 2 of the ID Act? Or whether the rotational arrangement, such as the one in the present case, where there are continuous temporary engagements of the same workmen over long periods of time (adopted as a strategy to deny benefits of permanency to the concerned workmen), does not amount to an engagement on a fixed period contract so as to form an exception under sub-clause (bb) of Clause (oo) of Section 2 of the ID Act?

(II) Whether,

(a) Sundays and holidays during the period of service could be counted within 240 days as per the applicable Standing Orders so as to make up aggregate service of 240 days in a year within the meaning of the Standing Orders and

(b) such 240 days should be reckoned as forming part of the calendar year of 12 months immediately preceding the dates of termination?

(III) Should a Labour Court dealing with terminations of workmen in a reference under the ID Act refuse to consider their claim of permanency?

The two factual aspects here are as follows:

  • Whether for inquiry Court can simply focus on the last termination of each of these workmen and disregard their earlier engagements and terminations?
  • Rotational Pattern said to have been adopted for engagement of these workmen – whether such pattern exists, for if it does, the legal question as to whether the terminations, including the last, come within the definition of retrenchment under Section 2(oo) and not within the excepting clause, namely, clause (bb) thereof

Analysis, Law and Decision

Clause (bb) as referred above applies to two situations:

  • where the termination is a result of non-renewal of the contract of employment between the employer and the concerned workman upon its expiry; and
  • where such termination is the result of a contractual stipulation contained in the contract of employment.

In the present case, the company’s is with regard to the contract made for a specific period and its non-renewal upon expiry.

The respondent company employed a rotational scheme for more than 13 years.

A pool of temporaries is maintained and anywhere between four to eight thousand temporaries from out of this pool are employed in rotation, some of them on 8 to 14 times, each time for a duration not exceeding seven months.

The classical idea behind retrenchment has been surplusage. A fixed period contract, on the other hand, implies either that for some particular work or project or due to a spurt in the demand and the resultant need for increased activity, there is a special need for a certain employee or number of employees and accordingly, need for a contract of employment for the particular work or project, or for the particular fixed period.

Court notes in the present case to be perennial work, work which is no different from what is performed by the permanent workmen of the company, for which temporaries were engaged. The said engagement was found to be over 13 years.

Bench found that the employment of the workmen in the present case was neither for any particular work or project nor was brought to an end after a fixed period due to wanting of work upon expiry of the period of contract.

The engagements were brought to an end purportedly at the expiry of the stipulated period of contract only to see that they get an artificial break (during which others from the waiting list were employed) only to be re-employed and this went on – again and again.

High Court in view of the above discussion stated that the above pattern appeared to have been designed with a view to avoiding any legitimate claim of permanency of tenure on the part of workmen concerned. 

Deprivation of Status and Privileges of Permanent Employees

Clear recipe of an unfair labour practice, notorious in the industry, of employing ‘badlis’, casuals or temporaries and continuing them as such for years, with the object of depriving them of the status and privileges of permanent employees.

Nature of Engagement of Workmen

Whether on a fixed tenure contract or colourable engagement on a fixed term, the real engagement being on a long term basis by adopting a rotational pattern, so as to avoid any claim of permanency.

Bench in view of the evidence recorded, held that the conclusions of the Labour Court, simply rendered as tag-lines, that there was no rotational pattern, or that it could not be said that service of anyone temporary workman was terminated and in his place and category another was employed offended the Wednesbury Principles and could not stand the scrutiny under Articles 226 or 227 of the Constitution of India.

Whether the workmen were illegally retrenched; whether, by reason of their employment (i.e. the last employment) being for a fixed tenure, their retrenchment formed an exception to the main part of Section 2(oo) of the ID Act, by falling within clause (bb) thereof.

High Court expressed that it cannot be gainsaid that both parties, being fully aware of the terms of reference and its scope, made their cases in extenso on the aspects of past engagements of the concerned workman in a rotational pattern and artificial breaks given to them so as to avoid completion of 240 days of continuous service and these were very much part of the trial before the Labour Court. It was thus clearly within the remit of the reference court to decide the issue.

Adding to its observations Court held that neither on principle nor on authority, these workmen were liable to be made permanent under Standing Order 4C by reason of completion of 240 days of continuous service in twelve preceding calendar months within the meaning of Standing Order 4C, therefore, issue no. (II) was decided against the petitioners.

Issues (I) and (III) were decided in favour of the petitioners, in light of which the impugned labour court awards were to be quashed and set aside.

Further, the Bench added that considering that the terminations challenged took place in the year 1997/98, more than twenty long years back, it would not be in the interest of justice to remit the references to the Labour Courts for consideration of monetary relief in lieu of reinstatement.

Therefore, the Court proposed to consider monetary relief in lieu of the reinstatement based on the material produced before the Court.

Bench relied upon the case of  Bajaj Auto Ltd. v. Bhojane Gopinath D, (2004) 9 SCC 488 as a model for determining compensation.[Sunil Pralhad Khomane v. Bajaj Auto Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 129, decided on 01-02-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A.P. Thaker J., upholding the decision of the Labour Court with respect to reinstatement of the workman, directed the employer to pay compensation of Rs 55000 as a lump sum against prayer for 100% back wages.

Being aggrieved with the award dated 23-04-2009 passed by the Labour Court, both workmen and the employer have preferred the respective petitions.

The workman has preferred Special Civil Application No. 540 of 2010 contending that he was serving with the employer on the post of supervisor and rendered his services for more than five years with no appointment letter or permanent assurance as such. One fine day, he was terminated from his position without any inquiry. It is further contended that in his reference before the Labour Court wherein he was granted prayer for reinstatement in service, the Labour Court factually and legally erred in not granting 100% back wages. Therefore, he has prayed to quash and set aside the award and grant him the same.

The employer has filed Special Civil Application No. 10377 of 2009 against the award contending that the Labour Court has committed serious error of law and facts in granting reinstatement in service as the workman has admitted that he was working on daily rated basis and in that view of the matter, when work was not available with the employer, he was automatically discharged. Further, it is also contended by the employer that the dispute is contractual in nature which, essentially, does not attract the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Counsel for the petitioner relied on Talwara Cooperative v. Sushil Kumar, (2008) 9 SCC 486, Executive Engineer v. Ayubhai Ladharbhai, 2010 (2) GLH 700 and Counsel for the respondent placed reliance on, General Manager Haryana Roadways v. Rudhan Singh, (2005) 5 SCC 591 and UP State Brassware v. Uday Narain Pandey, (2006) 1 SCC 479.

Court found no error of facts or law committed by the Labour Court with respect to reinstatement and for 100% back wages, it said, “… considering the materials placed on record and the decisions cited, it is found that the workman is not entitled to 100% backwages, however, granting of backwages at 25% is also not proper, especially in view of peculiar facts of this case. At the relevant time, the workman was getting Rs.1500/- and considering the peculiar facts of this case, instead of granting any back wages, it would be just and proper to pay lump sum compensation of Rs.55,000/- for back wages to the workman, which will serve the ends of justice”[Karsan Shivaji Sanghar v. Ashapura Mines, 2021 SCC OnLine Guj 61, decided on 13-01-2021]


Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Ravindra V. Ghuhe, J. allowed a petition filed by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation against the order of the Labour Court whereby it had directed reinstatement of the respondent in service.

The respondent, at the relevant time, was working as a bus conductor with the petitioner Corporation. In August 1991, he was apprehended of having collected ticket fare and having permitted two passengers to travel ticket-less. The amount of misappropriated was Rs 17. The respondent was found guilty of the charges against him in the departmental enquiry, and he was dismissed from service. The respondent approached the Labour Court which concluded that the enquiry held against him was fair, proper and not vitiated in any manner. The findings of the enquiry were also upheld. However, while considering the proportionality of the sentence, the Labour Court concluded that the punishment awarded to the respondent was shockingly disproportionate, and therefore directed his reinstatement in service.

The Corporation, represented by D.S. Baguk, Advocate, challenged the order of the Labour Court. It was submitted that this was the third time that the respondent was dismissed for such conduct.

Relying on Damoh Panna Sagar Rural Regional Bank v. Munna Lal Jain, (2005) 10 SCC 84Bieco Lawrie Ltd. v. State of W.B., (2009) 10 SCC 32; and Janatha Bazar v. Sahakari Noukarara Sangha, (2000) 7 SCC 517, the High Court noted that the quantum of amount misappropriated is not a decisive factor. The Court observed: “The impugned judgment of the Labour Court is an outcome of misplaced sympathy since the Labour Court concluded that a very meager amount has been misappropriated by the respondent. Showing misplaced sympathy in such matters or in matters wherein, a grave offence or misconduct has been committed, is an anathema.” In such view of the matter, the Court allowed the petition and quashed the order of the Labour Court.[Maharashtra SRTC v. Vanji Sitaram Bagul, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 1013, decided on 13-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: A  Bench of Dr S. Vimala, J. addressed a writ petition in which it was stated that petitioner was charged with corruption and put on suspension for which no order has yet been passed in a period of 9 years.

The petitioner in the present case was working in TANGEDCO and was placed under suspension on charges of corruption. For the said charge, a criminal case was filed but after a lapse of even more than 9 years, no order has been passed by the respondents and the grievance of the petitioner for the said issue is that his suspension is prolonged for which he has made a representation seeking to reinstate him in service.

Learned Counsel for the petitioner Mr Ravi Anantha Padmanaban contended that the prolonged suspension was against the decision of the Supreme Court in Ajay Kumar Choudhary v. Union of India, (2015) 7 SCC 291, which held that:

“Currency of a suspension order should not extend beyond 3 months, if within this period, the memorandum of charges/ charge sheet is not served on the delinquent officer/ employee; if the memorandum of charges/ charge sheet is served, a reasoned order must be passed for the extension of suspension”.

Thus, the High Court on perusal of records and the decision of the Supreme Court placed above held that the order of suspension be revoked and the respondents were directed to reinstate the petitioner in service and post him in any non-sensitive post. The petition was disposed of accordingly. [S.P. Chandrasekar v.  TANGEDCO, 2018 SCC OnLine Mad 3607, Order dated 04-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Surya Kant, CJ and Ajay Mohan Goel, J. declared that even if there was a delay in approaching the authorities, the Court shall balance out the equities while giving a decision.

An order was passed by Himachal Pradesh Administrative Tribunal whereby the petitioners through their counsels Ashok Sharma, Advocate General, with Mr. J.K. Verma and Mr Ranjan Sharma, Additional Advocate General have been directed to count the services of respondent and confer the Work Charge Status upon him on completion of eight years continuous service with financial benefits.

The respondent was engaged as a Daily Waged Beldar for thirty days. In the next year 1994, he worked for 257 days but he allegedly did not work in the year 1995. Further, there was an order for his retrenchment from service which he contended before the tribunal to be bad in law pursuant to which he was re-engaged plus his services were regularized.

The Court was of the view that once the termination of services of the respondent was found bad in law, the only consequence, which is bound to fall upon, is that he would be deemed to be continuing in service and thus no interference in the order of the tribunal was called for.[State of H.P v. Tikkam Ram, 2018 SCC OnLine 1749, decided on 10-12-2018]