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U.P.S.R.T.C. v. Ram Kishore - WRIT - A No. 31208 of 1995 [2005] RD-AH 6769 (1 December 2005)


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Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 31208 of 1995

Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, Agra


Ram Kishore & Anr

Hon'ble Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

Hon'ble Dilip Gupta, J.

This writ petition has been filed against the judgment and order of the U.P. Public Service Tribunal dated 11/7/1995, by which the order of termination of the services of the respondent-employee dated 1/7/1986 and appellate order dated 07/8/1987 have been quashed.

The facts and circumstances giving rise to this case are that the respondent-employee joined the services of the predecessors of the Corporation i.e. Government of Uttar Pradesh in the year 1966 as a Cleaner and was posted in the Government Roadways, Agra. Subsequently, he was promoted on the post of Valkniser in 1979. A charge-sheet was served upon him on 28/11/1985 by the service manager for making an attempt to steal the Ball Bearings, rim etc., of the vehicle taking them away from the workshop. On the said charge-sheet, an inquiry was conducted and charge stood proved. The Disciplinary Authority vide order dated 01/7/1986 terminated his services. Being aggrieved, respondent-employee preferred an appeal which was rejected vide order dated 07/8/1987.

Being aggrieved, petitioner filed Claim Petition No. 425/V/1987 before the Tribunal which was allowed vide impugned judgment and order dated 11/7/1995. Hence this petition. The Tribunal has recorded a finding of fact that there was no violation of the statutory rule of principles of natural justice while conducting the inquiry. The delinquent employee was given full opportunity to defend himself and rejected all the pleas taken by the said employee. However, the claim petition was allowed only on the ground that while passing the impugned order of punishment, the disciplinary authority had taken into account the past conduct of the said employee which was not satisfactory.      

It is settled legal proposition that the disciplinary authority cannot take into consideration any material while passing the order of punishment on the basis of which the charge-sheet has not been served to the delinquent-employee. Therefore, to that extent the order of the disciplinary authority cannot be held to be bad.  However, the question does arise as to whether in the facts and circumstances of the case where the charge of committing theft stood proved against the said employee, even if the past conduct of the respondent-employee had not been taken into consideration, the disciplinary authority could have imposed any punishment lesser than dismissal which was actually imposed by the said authority when the charge of embezzlement stands proved, no punishment other than dismissal can be awarded.

In Ruston & Hornsby (I) Ltd. Vs T.B. Kadam, AIR 1975 SC 2025, the workman faced the charge of suspected dishonesty in connection with company's property. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that the workman "being a Watchman, the charge is serious one and if it was held proved he deserves nothing short of dismissal.  

Dealing with a similar situation the Apex Court in Municipal Corporation, Bahadurgarh Vs. Krishnan Bihari & ors., AIR 1996 SC 1249, held as under:-

"In a case of such nature, in deed, in cases involving corruption, there can be no other punishment than dismissal. Any sympathy shown in such cases is totally uncalled for and opposed to public interest. The amount misappropriated may be small or large; it is the act of misappropriation that is relevant. The Director had interfered in the punishment under a total misapprehension of relevant factors to be borne in mind in such a case."

Similar view has been taken by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in U.P. State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Vasu Deo Chaudhary & Anr., (1997) 11 SCC 370, wherein the Court held that in a case of misappropriation, dismissal from service was justified by the Corporation. Placing reliance upon the said judgment in Krishnan Bihari  (supra) and Vasu Deo Chaudhary (supra), the Supreme Court, in Janatha Bazar South Kanara Central Cooperative Wholesale Stores Ltd. & ors.  Vs. Secretary, Sahakari Noukarara Sangaha & ors.,  (2000) 7 SCC 517, reiterated the same view, observing that in case of breach of trust and misappropriation of funds, once the charge stood proved, interference by courts, showing uncalled for sympathy, is totally unwarranted as it is a case of loss of confidence of the employer that the employee would truthfully and faithfully carry on his duty in future.

In Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Vs. B.S. Hullikatty, JT 2001 (2) SC 72, the Hon'ble Supreme Court considered a case where the bus conductor had charged a fare of Rs. 2.25 and issued the ticket of Rs. 1.75 and misappropriate fifty paise, the Apex Court held that the appropriate punishment in that case should be dismissal from service.  

Similar view has been reiterated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Regional Manager, R.S.R.T.C. v. Ghanshyam Sharma, JT 2001 (10) SC 12.

Thus, it is not the quantum involved in embezzlement but it is the essence of mens rea involved therein which is a determining factor for imposing the punishment. In a case of this nature no punishment other than dismissal from service could be imposed.

In view of the above, law does not permit to impose punishment other than dismissal. Even if the conduct of the respondent-employee had not been taken into consideration by the disciplinary authority, it could not have changed the circumstance and tilt the balance in favour of the delinquent employee. The Tribunal has been too technical while considering the matter, and in view of the above the judgment and order dated 11/07/1995 of the Tribunal cannot be sustained in the eyes of law and it is accordingly set-aside.

Petition succeeds and is allowed. The impugned judgment and order of the learned Tribunal dated 11/7/1995 is hereby set-aside.

Shri V.K. Rai appears for the respondent-employee.  




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