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Nandganj Sihori Sugar Co.Ltd. Ghazipur Through Exc. Director v. The Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Varanasi And Anr - WRIT - C No. 42657 of 1997  RD-AH 1410 (16 November 2004)
Hon'ble Rakesh Tiwari, J.
This petition is directed against award dated 31.7.1996 passed by Labour Court Varanasi in Adjudication Case No. 19/1990.
Heard Sri Rajesh D. Khare, learned counsel for the petitioner and learned Standing counsel and Sri Iqbal Ahmad for the respondents. With the consent of the learned counsel for the parties, the case is finally decided at the admission stage.
The petitioner is a subsidiary company of the U.P. State sugar Corporation Limited and is engaged inmanufacture of white crystal sugar by vacuum pan process. Vakil Ahmad Khan- respondent no. 2 was given permanent appointment on 28.8.78 on the post of Switch Board Attendant in the petitioner's company. On 17.12.1987, when respondent no. 2 was on duty as Switch Board Attendant along with one Mohammad Shamim Idrishi, Electrician, the main panel board of the electric line of the petitioner-company was damaged and burnt out due to fire caused by short circuit sparkling. Respondent no. 2 was dismissed from service by order dated 30.4.1988 after holding enquiry
It is alleged by learned counsel for the petitioner that immediately on receving the information about burning of the panel board of the electric line, the senior officials of the company rushed at the spot on 17.12.1987 and found that the respondent no. 2 was absent from his place of duty. He was suspended and served with a charge sheet dated 8.2.1988. In the enquiry, held by the Executive Director of the company, the respondent no. 2 was held to be guilty and a second show cause notice was issued calling upon the respondent no. 2 to show cause as to why his services be not dismissed. He submitted his reply which was not found satisfactory, and, consequently, he was dismissed from service on 30.4.1988. Respondent no. 2 thereafter raised an industrial dispute. Conciliation proceedings having failed the matter was referred to the Labour Court Varanasi, where the case was registered as Adjudication Case no. 19 of 1990.
On receipt of summons, the parties submitted their written and rejoinder statements.
The case of the employers before the Labour court was that the workman was negligent in his duty and was absent when the senior officials reahced the spot on the fateful day. It is stated that the fire borke out due to gross negligence on the part of the respondent-workman who if present would have switched off the electric panel supply preventing heavy loss to the factory which remained shut down. It is also stated that the charges against the respondent-workman were proved in the enquiry proceedings and was rightly dismissed from service.
Learned counsel for the respondents submits that the charges against the respondent-workman were fabricated. He was made a scape-goat and was victimized as the root cause of fire was due to the negligence on the part of the senior officials who had not even cared to look into log book wherein the workman had endorsed about 4-5 days back that he had seen sparks in the panel, which required to be repaired. It was their duty to take notife of the note was made in the log book.
Apart from filing documentary evidence, the parties also led oral evidence before the Labour Court. The workman vide his application dated 19.3.1991 had summoned the log book which was never produced by the employers on the pretext that no such log book is maintained by them. The workman had denied many of the documents filed by the employers as they were not proved by oral evidence and exhibited as per Rules 19 and 21 of the Industrial Tribunal and Labour Court Rules of Procedures, 1967.They were not part of record as per Rule 23 of the aforesaid Rules.
On 8.10.2004, learned counsel for the petitioner had informed the court that the mill has been closed down in 1998 and the workman has already been reinstated by virtue of an interim order of this court and has been transferred to Bijnor unit.
The Labour Court, after appreciating theevidence led by both the parties, recorded a finding of fact that log book was maintained by the employers which is apparent from the evidence of the witnesses and the senior officials of the company were responsible for the fire as they did not take any action to repair the switch boad, in time resulting in fire causing extensive damage to the panel and that the workman was made scape-goat leaving the senior officials scot free. The Labour court, therefore, drew adverse inference against the employers for not producing log book. Relevant finding of the labour court is as follows :-
"Jfed usa vf/k'kklh funs'kd Onkjk vius I*k=kad ,u0,l0lh0ih0,Q0 /2645 fn0 22&1&1988 Onkjk eq[; vfHk;Urk mi eq[; vfHk;Urk ,oa 3 lgk;d vfHk;Urkvksa ls LiLVhdj.k ekaxk Fkk vkSj fy[kk Fkk fd 17&12&87 dks izkr% 4&15 dks ikoj gkml ds esu iSusy cksMZ esa Hk;adj vkx yxus dh laHkkouk ds ckjs esa Lohp cksMZ ,VsUMsaV rFkk lc ,ysDV+hf'k;u Onkjk ykx cqd esa 4&5 fnu igys ls gh bUnzkt dh tkrh Fkh fdUrq bu vf/kdkfj;ksa us ykxcqd dks ugha ns[kk vkSj mudh ykijokgh ds dkj.k esu iSusy cksMZ esa Hk;Adj vkx yx x;h vr% os rhu fnu ds vUnj zLiLVhdj.k nsa fd D;ksa u muds fo*#ð dk;Zokgh dh tk;s! Jfed izfrfuf/k usa ;g rdZ fn;k gS fd vf/k'kklh funs'kd ds blh i*= ls LiLV gks tkrk gS fd 4&5 fnu igys gh Lohp cksMZ ,VsUMsUV rFkk bysfDV+f'k;u usa ykx cqd esa mijksDV izfofLV dh Fkh ! Jfed usa vius cpko esa dgk fd mlus vf/kdkfj;ksa dks eSkf[Skd vkSj fyf[kr nksuksa izdkj lwfpr fd;k ijUrq vf/kdkfj;ksa usa dksbZ dk;Zokgh ugha dh ! Jfed dks gh cyh dk cdjk cuk fn;k x;k vkSj mPpkf/kdkfj;ksa dks NksM fn;k x;k tc fd mlus ykx cqd esa bldk bunzkt igys gh dj fn;k Fkk vkSj laHkkouk O;Dr dh Fkh vx yx ldrh gS ! lsok ;kstdks ds blh vfHkys[k ls LiLV gks tkrk gS fd ykx cqd esUVsu gksrh gS ijUrq tc Jfed usa ykx cqd leu djk;k rks lsok ;kstd izfrfuf/k Jh ih0foLok'k us dg fn;k fd ,slh dksbZ ykx cqd esUVsu ugha gksrh ! blls LiLV gS fd tkucw> dj ykx cqd is'k ugha fd;k x;k vU;Fkk ykx cqd ls LiLV gks tkrk vkx yxus ds fy, ofjLV vf/kdkjh ftEesnkj gSa u fd orZeku Jfed bl izdkj LiLV gS fd Jfed dh dksbZ xyrh ugha Fkh !&&&&"
Sri R.D.Khare, learned counsel for the petitioner had taken a firm stand that the workman was very much present at the spot; had also switched off the electricity supply but as the switch was out of order, it did not work. The workman has categorically denied the allegations of not being on the spot or of being negligent. He has taken the stand that he was present at the spot and has been made a escape goat to protect the senior officials. The workman has filed reply to the charge sheet from which his defence is fortified. It is admitted case of the parties that the respondent-workman was not the only employee present at the spot but there was also an electrician,namely, Mohd. Shamim Idrishi, working along with him. The employers have not produced Idrishi before the Labour Court to establish that the workman was not present at the spot when senior officials rushed there. There is no illegality or infirmity in the impugned award. The findings are based on appreciation of evidence. The Labour Court has given cogent reasons for arriving at the conclusions for holding that termination from service of the workman was illegal and unjustified. Even if the case of the employers that the workman was not present at the time when senior officials reached at the spot is accepted to be true, from their own showing, another electrician, namely, Shamim Idrishi (electrician) working along with him could have done the needful but there is not a whisper about the whereabouts of Idrishi. The respondent-workman who had already reported the defect in the panel, in the aforesaid backdrop cannot he beld to be responsible for the fire. The employers had not gone to the Labour Court with clean hand as they pleaded that no log book was being maintained whereas it was being maintained. From any angle of the case, learned counsel for the petitioner could not point out any perversity in the impugned award, which is just, apt and proper.
In the result, the writ petition fails and is accordingly dismissed without any order as to costs.
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