High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Jai Bhagwan v. State of Haryana & Ors. - CWP-10348-2006  RD-P&H 5975 (25 August 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
C.W.P. No. 10348 of 2006
DATE OF DECISION: 28.8.2006
State of Haryana and others.
CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE J.S. NARANG.
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ARVIND KUMAR,
Present:- Mr. Vishnu Sharma, Advocate
for the petitioner.
The challenge in this petition filed under Articles 226.227 of the Constitution of India is to the award dated 14.3.2006 (Annexure P-5) whereby the claim of the petitioner-workman has been dismissed.
We have heard learned counsel for the petitioner and have also gone through the paper book carefully.
It is not in dispute that on account of having remained absent from 17.11.2000 to 20.12.2000, the services of the petitioner-workman were terminated on 23.5.2001. The grievance of the petitioner is that prior to terminating his services, neither any enquiry was held nor compliance, as required under Section 25-F of the Act, was made. Moreover, his is plea that during the said period, he could not attend his duties due to medical ailment.
This has not been considered either by the department or by the Labour Court.
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The enquiry as well as the award of the Labour Court have been challenged mainly on the ground that the petitioner was not intimated about the enquiry, which was proceeded against him against the principles of natural justice.
Learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that the Labour Court has completely ignored these aspects of the matter and as such, the award is liable to be set aside. There is no substance in the contention raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner. The requirement of natural justice must depend upon the circumstances of the case, nature of enquiry, the rules under which the Tribunal is acting, the subject matter that is being dealt with and so forth. The strict rule of evidence are not applicable in departmental enquiry and the standard of proof being different, it is sufficient to establish a charge by evidence, albeit not by any conjecture or surmises, acting upon which reasonably and objectively, a reasonable man could uphold the charge. A bare perusal of the impugned award shows that the petitioner-workman, who was working as a driver on daily wages, was sent notice M-2 (before the Labour Court) dated 11.1.2001 to file reply regarding his absence from 17.11.2000 to 20.12.2000. But he failed to do so. Thereafter reminder Ex.M-3(before the Labour Court) dated 24.1.2001 was also sent to him, which was also not replied by him. Thereafter, vide Ex.M-4(before the Labour Court) dated 7.2.2001 he was asked to appear personally for hearing, but he failed to turn up. Ultimately, his termination order was passed on 23.5.2001. The sequence of the events suggests that he was well aware of the pendency of the enquiry against him. However, despite that he did not participate in the enquiry. He permitted the enquiry to proceed ex parte by his own act and conduct. When the factum of absence 3 C.W.P. No. 10348 of 2006
is not in dispute, the only limited enquiry is required to be conducted for ascertaining as to whether he had sufficient explanation or not? The only explanation submitted by him was of his ailment. The same is of no help to him. Though he produced a medical certificate, but he failed to prove the same by examining the doctor concerned, who had issued the same.
Moreover, the authenticity of the alleged medical certificate Annexure P-2 is highly doubtful. It bears the date 17.11.2000, certifying the illness of petitioner-workman from 17.11.2000 to 20.12.2000 i.e. of the period still to come. Thus, it was not rightly considered by the Labour Court. Now it does not lie in his mouth to say that the enquiry was not proper.
Apart from this, a perusal of the impugned award shows that the department while passing the termination order dated 23.5.2001 also considered the factum of absence of petitioner-workman on as many as on 32 occasions during the period 1.5.1995 to 20.12.2000, which were also detailed in the said order. In Vivek Nand Sethi Vs. Chairman J & K Bank Ltd. and others 2005 (3) RSJ 136, it has been observed that a limited enquiry as to whether the employee concerned had sufficient explanation for not reporting to duties after the period of leave had expired or failure on his part on being asked so to do, amounts to sufficient compliance of the requirement of the principles of natural justice.
A bare perusal of the award shows that before drawing the said conclusion, the Labour Court had discussed the evidence oral as well as documentary with reference to the dicta of Hon'ble Supreme Court in Vivek Nand Sethi's case (supra).
We are in total agreement with the findings recorded by the Labour Court. Nothing has been shown to us to take a contrary view.
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For the discussion above, this petition fails and the same is dismissed in limine accordingly.
August 28,2006 JUDGE
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