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Mahatma Singh v. Upsrtc - WRIT - A No. 13521 of 1994 [2004] RD-AH 1199 (25 October 2004)


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Mahatam Singh......................................................Petitioner


U.P.S.R.T.C. and others........................................ Respondents


Hon. Tarun Agarwala,J.

The petitioner was working as a conductor in U.P. State Roadways Transport Corporation, Ballia. On 25.8.1988 a surprise checking was conducted by the checking staff, headed by Assistant Regional Manager on bus No.UHN 0969. The Assistant Regional Manager found a lot of irregularities committed by the conductor. Initially the conductor refused to handover the way bill nor permitted the checking staff to check the number of passengers or the number of tickets issued to them. The conductor also abused the Assistant Regional Manager and its checking staff. A report was submitted by the Assistant Regional Manager on the basis of which a charge sheet dated 21.10.1992 was issued against the petitioner. The petitioner submitted a reply which was not found satisfactory and consequently an Inquiry Officer was appointed to conduct the domestic inquiry. The Inquiry Officer gave full opportunity to the petitioner to defend himself and after examining the witnesses submitted the inquiry report in which he found that the petitioner was guilty of all the charges. On receipt of the inquiry report, the disciplinary authority issued a show cause notice and upon receiving the explanation passed an order dated 17.3.1993 removing the petitioner from the service. Aggrieved by the order of removal, the petitioner filed an appeal, which was rejected by order dated 19.2.1994. Aggrieved, the petitioner has now filed the present writ petition.

Heard Sri B.N.Tewari, the learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri Avanish Mishra for the respondents.

Admittedly, the charges which were leveled against the petitioner and which had been proved in the domestic inquiry was that out of 49 passengers, 39 passengers were traveling without tickets and that the petitioner created obstructions and placed hurdles upon the checking team and misbehaved with them.

The learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the petitioner has been prejudiced by the non-production of a passenger as a witness in the domestic inquiry who had given a statement with regard to the incident, namely, the conduct of the petitioner with the checking staff and non-issuance of the tickets to the passengers and also his misbehaviour. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the non-production of this witness during the inquiry proceedings has prejudiced him and that in the absence of this witness, his statement could not be relied upon. In support of his submission the petitioner has relied upon  State of U.P. vs. Mohd. Sharif (Dead) through L.Rs., AIR (1982)2 SCC 376, Kashinath Dikshita vs. Union of India and others, AIR 1986 SC 2118, State of U.P. vs. Shatrughan Lal and another, AIR 1998 SC 3038 and  Kuldeep Singh vs. The Commissioner of Police and others, AIR 999 SC 677.

The argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner is wholly misconceived and devoid of any merit. No doubt the charge sheet also contains the statement of the passenger and that this passenger had not been produced in the domestic inquiry, inasmuch as it was not possible for the department to produce  that passenger. In any case his statement has not been relied upon by the Inquiry Officer while proving the charges. The charges have been proved by the Assistant Regional Manager who appeared and deposed before the Inquiry Officer and proved the incident. Thus, non-production of the passenger does not cause any prejudice to the petitioner.

Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that no opportunity was given and that the domestic inquiry was violative of principles of natural justice. From a perusal of the inquiry report it is clear that full opportunity was given to the petitioner to defend himself which he duly availed and also cross-examined the witnesses. Thus, the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner is devoid of any merit and is rejected.

Learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the Inquiry Officer was biased and that the petitioner did not have any confidence and, therefore, the entire inquiry proceedings was vitiated. In my opinion, the petitioner cannot be permitted to raise this plea at this stage. No such plea was ever raised during the inquiry proceedings or even before the appellate authority. Even before this Court, no details have been furnished as to why the petitioner lacked confidence with the Inquiry Officer nor the petitioner has given any reason indicating as to why the Inquiry Officer was biased against him. In my opinion, making a wild allegation against the Inquiry Officer is not sufficient by itself. The petitioner must also give cogent reasons to support his allegations. The argument raised by the learned counsel is, therefore, devoid of any merit.

The learned counsel for the petitioner further submitted that initially the inquiry proceedings were initiated but were dropped on account of lack of evidence and, therefore, the institution of the second inquiry was patently erroneous. The learned counsel for the petitioner contended that there is no provision for initiation of a second inquiry. In support of his submission, the learned counsel has placed reliance of a decision reported in AIR 1975 SCC 2277.

The submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner is devoid of any merit. The respondents have categorically denied the allegations made by the petitioner and submitted that only one inquiry was initiated by which the petitioner was eventually removed from the service. The submissions of the learned counsel for the petitioner are not substantiated by any evidence on record and therefore, there is no force in this submission.

Learned counsel for the respondents stated that the petitioner is a workman as defined under the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act and, therefore, he could have raised an Industrial Dispute under the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act. The learned counsel for the respondents submitted that on the ground of alternative remedy, the writ petition should be dismissed. Since the counter and rejoinder affidavit had been exchanged and the matter is pending since 1994, in my opinion, even though the petitioner had an alternate and an efficacious remedy by raising Industrial Dispute under the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act for redressal of his grievance, I find that it will not be worthwhile to relegate the petitioner to the remedy available under the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act.

In view of the aforesaid there is no error in the impugned orders. The writ petition is devoid of any merit and is dismissed. However, there shall be no order as to cost.

Dated: 30.7.2004



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