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U.P.State Road Transport Corporation v. State Of U.P. & Others - WRIT - C No. 12351 of 1998  RD-AH 5655 (8 March 2006)
CIVIL MISC. WRIT PETITION NO.12351 OF 1998
U.P.State Road Transport Corporation. ....Petitioner
State of U.P. and others. ....Respondents
Hon'ble Bharati Sapru, J.
This writ petition has been filed against an award of the Labour Court dated 20.5.96 passed in Adjudication No.27 of 1995. By this award, the Labour Court has interfered with the punishment granted by the disciplinary authority to the respondent workman on charges of misconduct, which were proved against him.
The facts of the present case are that the respondent workman was a conductor with the Petitioner-Corporation and was deputed on a bus plying on Haridwar Roparia route. However, the conductor took the bus beyond the route and when the checking authorities found him taking the bus beyond the route and gave him signal to stop the bus, the bus driver did not stop and sped away. The checking authorities managed to stop the bus after 10-11 kms. and found that the bus was carrying 65 ½ passengers without tickets. It was, therefore, according to the petitioner, a serious case of misconduct, which could result in major punishment. The respondent workman was charge sheeted and, thereafter, departmental enquiry was initiated against him. The enquiry report held that the charges of misconduct stood fully proved against the respondent workman and he was removed from service with effect from 14.7.92. The respondent workman filed a departmental appeal and by way of an order dated 25.1.93, the authorities concerned, taking lenient view of the matter, directed the reinstatement of the respondent workman with continuity of service to give him a token pay of Rs.1/- for the period he was out of service. The respondent workman, thereafter, raised an industrial dispute.
The award of the Labour Court records that the respondent workman accepted the findings and conclusions of the departmental enquiry and did not press against that.
Therefore, the only question that was left to be decided by the Labour Court was a question of quantum of punishment, which had been granted to the respondent workman.
Learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that the misconduct had been clearly established against the respondent workman and, therefore, the only order that had been justified in the facts and circumstances of the case was an order of termination. The petitioner took lenient view and reinstated the workman. He has argued that such being the case, the punishment of the grant of back wages for the period when he stayed out which was between `14.7.92 to 25.1.93 ought not have been granted to the respondent workman. He has argued that the only reason for the Labour Court to interfere with the punishment granted by the petitioner would be if the punishment granted to the respondent workman was such that it would have been completely disproportionate to the charges leveled and proved against the respondent workman, so as shock conscience of any reasonable person. He has argued that it could not be said that in the present case, misconduct having been proved, punishment, which was granted to the respondent workman was shockingly disproportionate. On the other hand, he has argued that the punishment, which was granted, was, in fact, lenient and not even commensurate to the charges proved against him. Learned counsel for the petitioner has placed reliance on decision of Hon'ble Supreme Court reported in 1999(1) U.P.L.B.E.C. 201 in the case of U.P. State Road Transport Corporation and others Vs. A.K. Parul where the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that while exercising judicial review, the Court should not normally interfere with the punishment, specially in cases, where the Court found that the charges were proved. Once the charges were proved, the Court which is judicially reviewing the matter would not be justified, if interfering with the punishment imposed by the disciplinary authority, particularly when the workman was once removed from service on charges of corruption and, thereafter, reinstated.
The third argument advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the present case
was not a case of dismissal or discharge under Section 6-2A of the U.P.I.D. Act, 1947 and, therefore, it was not open to the Labour Court while granting relief to the workman to substitute the punishment grated by the disciplinary authority, He has argued that the situation in the present case did not warrant any interference in the quantum of punishment made by the Labour Court for reasons that charges were proved against the respondent workman. He has argued that the interference by the Labour Court in substituting the punishment and giving a lesser punishment had been made by the Labour Court in excess of jurisdiction vested in the Labour Court and, therefore, he said that the award of the Labour Court was vitiated on this ground also.
The learned counsel for the respondent workman has argued that because the workman was reinstated, back wages also should have been granted to the respondent workman for the period that he was kept out of service.
Having heard learned counsel for the parties, I am of the view that the submissions as made by learned counsel for the petitioner have substance and force and are liable to be accepted by this Court. The admitted position in the present case is that charges were proved against the workman and he did not challenge the findings of misconduct, which were proved against him. The punishment, which was granted to him was the stoppage of back wages for a period of approximately six months i.e, from 14.7.92 and 25.1.93 was in my opinion, was neither harsh nor disproportionate in view of the misconduct committed by the respondent workman.
The third argument made by the learned counsel for the petitioner also has force that the Labour Court has not assessed the matter under Section 6 (2-A) of the U.P.I.D. Act and since it was a simple matter of removal and not discharge or dismissal, it was not open to the Labour Court to substitute the punishment granted by the disciplinary authority with a lesser punishment.
The award of the Labour Court on this ground is also vitiated.
In view of the above discussion, I hold that the award of the Labour Court is vitiated. The substitution of the punishment granted by the disciplinary authority with a lesser punishment is bad and is set aside by this Court. Punishment as granted by the disciplinary authority shall be maintained against the respondent workman and he is not entitled to any back wages for the period 14.7.92 to 25.1.93.
The writ petition is allowed. There will be no order as to costs.
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