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R.L.Gupta v. State - WRIT - C No. 31817 of 1994 [2007] RD-AH 12251 (18 July 2007)


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Court No. 28

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 31817 of 1994

Raja Lal Gupta Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and others


Hon. Dilip Gupta, J.

This petition seeks the quashing of the award passed by the Labour Court, Agra in Adjudication Case No. 290 of 1988 by which the reference has been answered in favour of the employers.

The reference that had been made to the Labour Court under Section 4-K of the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 was whether the employers were justified in terminating the services of the petitioner-workman by the order dated 20.11.1982 and if not then to what relief the workman was entitled to.

The petitioner-workman was employed as a Conductor in the U.P. State Road Transport Corporation. The charges, that had been levelled against him by the charge-sheet dated 1.10.1982 were that on 21.9.1992 he was carrying 29 passengers without tickets in the morning shift and on the same day in the afternoon shift he was again carrying four passengers without tickets. The Labour Court examined as to whether the domestic enquiry had been held in accordance with the principles of natural justice and having found that it was not properly held, gave opportunity to the employers to lead evidence to establish the charges before the Labour Court. Both the employers and the workman led oral and documentary evidence and thereafter the Labour Court recorded a categorical finding of fact that the charges levelled against the petitioner-workman for carrying passengers without tickets were proved. It accordingly held that there was no infirmity in the termination order dated 20.11.1982.

Learned counsel for the petitioner-workman contended that proper explanation had been given by the workman for not issuing tickets to the passengers but the same was not appreciated by the Labour Court and a wrong finding has been recorded that he was carrying passengers without tickets. He submitted that the students, who entered the bus, were not ready to take the tickets and,  therefore, it was impossible for him to issue the tickets and it was by chance that at this point of time that the Checking Squad arrived and found the passengers without tickets. This explanation offered by the petitioner-workman was not found acceptable by the Labour Court in the face of the voluminous evidence led by the employers. It needs to be mentioned that the workman had not disputed that 29 passengers were travelling without tickets The finding has been recorded by the Labour Court after carefully scrutinizing the statements made by two witnesses produced on behalf of the employers. I am unable to find any infirmity in the finding recorded by the Labour Court.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly pointed out that where bus Conductor, who hold position of trust carry passengers without tickets,  then the misconduct in such cases has to be dealt with firmly.

In Regional Manager, U.P. SRTC, Etawah & Anr. Vs. Hoti Lal & Anr. (2003) 3 SCC 605 the Supreme Court observed :-

"If the charged employee holds a position of trust where honesty and integrity are inbuilt requirements of functioning, it would not be proper to deal with the matter leniently. Misconduct in such cases has to be dealt with iron hands. Where the person deals with public money or is engaged in financial transactions or acts in a fiduciary capacity, the highest degree of integrity and trustworthiness is a must and unexceptionable. Judged in that background, conclusions of the Division Bench of the High Court do not appear to be proper. We set aside the same and restore order of the learned Single Judge upholding the order of dismissal." (emphasis supplied)

In Regional Manager, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Sohan Lal, (2004) 8 SCC 218 it was pointed out by the Supreme Court:-

"Assuming for argument sake that the High Court by the impugned order proceeded on the basis that though the misconduct is proved the punishment was disproportionate and it is on that basis that the impugned order is made, even then we are unable to agree with the order of the Appellate Bench of the High Court because it is not the normal jurisdiction of the superior courts to interfere with the quantum of sentence unless the said sentence is wholly disproportionate to the misconduct proved. No such finding has been recorded by the Appellate Bench in the impugned order. Since, the misconduct proved is one of dishonesty, the quantum of loss is immaterial, it is the loss of confidence that matters. ..............." (emphasis supplied)

In V.Ramana Vs. A.P.SRTC & Ors., (2005) 7 SCC 338 the Supreme Court observed :-

"The common thread running through in all these decisions is that the court should not interfere with the administrator's decision unless it was illogical or suffers from procedural impropriety or was shocking to the conscience of the court, in the sense that it was in defiance of logic or moral standards. In view of what has been stated in Wednesbury case the court would not go into the correctness of the choice made by the administrator open to him and the court should not substitute its decision for that of the administrator. The scope of judicial review is limited to the deficiency in decision-making process and not the decision.

To put it differently unless the punishment imposed by the disciplinary authority or the Appellate Authority shocks the conscience of the court/Tribunal, there is no scope for interference." (Emphasis supplied)

The employers were, therefore, justified in terminating the services of the petitioner-workman. There is,  therefore, no merit in this petition. It is,  accordingly, dismissed. Interim order, if any,  stands vacated.

Dt/- 18.7.2007



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