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F.C.I. v. Central Govt.Industrial Coum Labour Court Kanpur - WRIT - C No. 38273 of 1995 [2007] RD-AH 13730 (8 August 2007)


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Court No. 26

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 38273 of 1995

Food Corporation of India                            ...                          Petitioner


Central Government Industrial Cum

Labour Court, Kanpur and another             ...                            Respondents

Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vineet Saran

Respondent no.2 Ram Prakash Savita was appointed as a Watchman in the Food Corporation of India (hereinafter referred to as the Corporation) on 11.4.1961. Some incident is said to have taken place on ¾th May, 1986 in which loss of Rs. 10,000/- was caused to the Corporation. Respondent no.2, as watchman, had reported a case of theft and also lodged a first information report. However, disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the Respondent no.2 and a charge sheet was issued  and an enquiry was conducted. After submission of the enquiry report, the disciplinary authority vide its order dated 31.3.1990 imposed a penalty of stoppage of one increment with recovery of loss of Rs. 10,000/- caused to the Corporation.

In the meantime during the period of  pendency of the enquiry after the respondent no.2 had already submitted his reply, on 30.12.1987 the Respondent no.2 was promoted by an order passed by the Corporation. In response thereto on 31.12.1987 the Respondent no.2 joined on the promoted post. However, thereafter on 14.1.1988 the said order of promotion was withdrawn by the Corporation.

An industrial dispute was raised by the Respondent no.2 which was registered as Industrial Dispute no. 12 of 1991 and the following dispute was referred to the Tribunal for adjudication:-

"Whether the Senior Regional Manager, Food Corporation of India was justified in imposing penalty of one increment with cumulative effect vide his order dated 31.3.1990 and also reversion of  Sri Savita from AG I to AG II w.e.f. 31.12.1987 ? If not to what relief the workman concerned is entitled ?"

By the order dated 8.8.1995 passed by the Central Government Industrial Tribunal cum Labour Court, Respondent no.1, the reference has been answered in favour of the Respondent no.2 and the order dated 31.3.1990 imposing penalty as well as the order dated 14.1.1988 whereby the petitioner was reverted, were found to be unjustified and after setting aside the same it was provided that the respondent no.2 would be entitled to all the consequential benefits. Challenging the said award dated 8.8.1995 this writ petition has been filed.

I have heard Sri Satya Prakash, learned counsel for the petitioner as well as Sri B.K.Chaturvedi, learned counsel for the contesting respondent no.2 and have perused the record.

It has been vehemently argued by the learned counsel for the petitioner that once a finding had been recorded by the enquiry officer which was based on the evidence adduced before the enquiry officer, the same could not be reversed or set aside by the Tribunal. In support thereof, he has placed reliance on the following decisions:-

1.Government of Tamil Nadu vs. A.Rajapandian AIR 1995 SC 561.

2.Tata Infomedia Limited (Erstwhile Tata Press Limited) vs. Tata Press Employees' Union 2006 (108) F.L.R. 890

3.Regional Manager, U.P.State Road Transport Corporation vs. Mohan Lal 2007 (113) F.L.R. 325.

It is true that the Labour Court or the Tribunal is not to sit in appeal over the findings of the enquiry officer unless the same are absolutely perverse or based on no evidence. The contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that in the present case the findings had been recorded by the enquiry officer on the basis of evidence adduced and thus the Tribunal has wrongly gone into the sufficiency of the evidence and set aside the findings recorded.

A perusal of the impugned award shows that the enquiry was conducted properly but the evidence of the main defence witness (D.W.1) who was the serving Chaukidar had not been considered or accepted by the enquiry officer. The case of theft as reported by the Respondent no.2 was brushed by the enquiry officer in a cursory manner without taking into account the evidence of the aforesaid witness as well as the fact that the respondent no.2 had himself lodged the first information report. In such facts, in my view, the Tribunal has rightly questioned the fairness of the enquiry in holding that the Respondent no.2 had misappropriated Rs. 10,000/- and held him responsible for the same. In the facts of the present case I agree with the observations of the Tribunal that the findings recorded by the enquiry officer was absolutely perverse.

As regards the reversion order dated 14.1.1988, in my view the Tribunal has rightly held that in the promotion order there was no reference that the promotion would be subject to the clearance by the vigilance department and as such the order reverting the Respondent no.2 on such ground was rightly found to be unreasonable. In my view it has rightly been observed by the Tribunal that if the promotion order is passed, it is deemed that the employee was free from all short-comings. Sri Satya Prakash, learned counsel for the petitioner has stated that the promotion order itself contemplated clearance from the vigilance department and the Respondent no.2 colluded with the officer concerned in managing to get promotion without getting such clearance. Be that as it may, the promotion was granted by the authority concerned and nothing has been brought on record to show that the Respondent no.2 misrepresented or committed fraud in obtaining the promotion. As such the findings recorded by the Tribunal in this regard also do not call for any interference from this Court.

In any case it has been brought to the notice of this Court that the Respondent no.2 has already retired on 31.8.1996. Since there was no interim order granted in this writ petition, he has retired from the promoted post more than a decade back. As already observed above, there is no material illegality or irregularity in the award passed by the Tribunal but even if some deviations had been found, this Court would not be inclined to interfere in a matter in which the concerned has already retired more than a decade back.

Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, this writ petition is dismissed. No order as to cost.

dt. 8.8.2007



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