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]