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Jitendra Kumar v. Prosiding Officer, Labour Court And Others - WRIT - C No. 12948 of 2001  RD-AH 7498 (14 December 2005)
Civil Misc.Writ Petition No.12948 of 2001
The Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Uttar Pradesh,
Agra and others
Hon.Shishir Kumar, J.
By means of the present writ petition the petitioner has approached this Court for quashing the orders dated 21.7.1998 and the award dated 3.3.2000 (Annexures 6 and 7 to the writ petition).
The facts arising out of the writ petition are that the petitioner was working as a Driver in Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation from the year 1988. On 1.8.1996, the petitioner was going from Agra to Lucknow by Bus No.U.P. 80, K-9564. When the aforesaid bus reached near Unnao, the accident has taken place by a tanker, which was coming from the opposite side, causing great damage to the bus, and there were causalities and injuries to several persons including the driver who became unconscious. A First Information Report was lodged by the conductor. The petitioner was suspended by order-dated 30.8.1996 and the petitioner was served with a charge sheet on 29.10.1996. The petitioner submits a reply. The one of the charge levelled against the petitioner was that during driving of the bus the petitioner was negligent and due to his negligence the accident had taken place. The Enquiry Officer had submitted a report and on the basis of the enquiry report the disciplinary authority after issuing a show cause notice dated 4.6.1998 has passed an order of termination. The petitioner aggrieved by the aforesaid order has raised the dispute and the State Government has referred the matter to the Industrial Court under section 4-K of the Industrial Disputes Act.
It has been submitted on behalf of the petitioner that the Labour Court has not considered the evidence to the effect that no proper enquiry has been held and certain relevant witnesses have not been examined, therefore, the total enquiry is vitiated. The Labour Court has also not considered this aspect of the matter and was pleased to reject the claim of the petitioner vide its award dated 3.3.2000.
Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, the petitioner has approached this Court.
A contention has been raised on behalf of the petitioner that on the date of accident there was heavy rain and due to this fact as there was no wiper in the bus and there was scratches on the glasses, therefore, the visibility was not clear and due to the aforesaid fact, the accident had taken place. It has also been pleaded by the petitioner that regarding the defect, it has been informed to the Manager workshop but the same has not been done, therefore, no responsibility can be fixed upon the petitioner.
Notices were issued and a counter affidavit has been filed by the respondents. It has been stated in Para 4 of the counter affidavit that the place of accident was inspected by the Station Superintendent as well as junior foreman and it has been found that several parts of the bus in question are missing. It has also been submitted that a charge sheet was given to the petitioner. An enquiry officer was appointed and after affording full opportunity the enquiry report was submitted before the competent authority. The competent authority agreeing with the enquiry report had issued a show cause notice to the petitioner then the petitioner has submitted a reply and after consideration of the reply of the petitioner the order dated 29.10.1998 has been passed. The complete documents were filed before the Labour Court and as such, the Labour Court has come to the conclusion that the punishment which has been awarded to the petitioner, is on the basis of the relevant record and on the basis of the finding recorded by the enquiry officer. There is no lacuna in the enquiry proceedings; therefore, the Labour Court has refused to interfere. It has further been argued on behalf of the respondents that the Labour Court being the last court of fact has recorded a finding of fact that the charges levelled against the petitioner has been proved beyond doubt and as such, this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India should not interfere.
I have heard Km. Anuradha Sundaram who appears for the petitioner and counsel for UPSRTC and have perused the record.
From the record, it is clear that it is not the case of the petitioner that during the disciplinary proceedings the petitioner has not been given or afforded opportunity to make the statement and a denial is there for not permitting the witnesses to cross-examine. The enquiry officer on the basis of the statement of the Manager of the workshop has given a statement that after inspection of the bus it was found that the bus was so damaged that it cannot be brought to the workshop without help of the crane. The enquiry officer has also recorded a finding on the basis of the statement and the report submitted by the official that the battery of the bus was badly damaged. In the statement the petitioner himself has stated this fact before the enquiry officer that the alternator of the bus was defective therefore, the lights of the bus were not proper. The break of the vehicle was also not functioning properly. One R.C.Sharma junior foreman has stated in his statement that on 20.7.1996 there was a complaint by the driver regarding breaking of the glasses of the front and right side but the same was replaced. A finding to this effect has also been recorded by the enquiry officer that if there was some defect in the vehicle and the breaks were not in proper condition the driver should have refused to take the vehicle from the workshop. A finding to this effect has also been recorded that all pleas regarding defects in bus are being taken subsequent to the accident. Nothing was reported prior to the accident.
The Labour court has also taken into consideration the statement and the report of the junior foreman and the report of the workshop as well as other reports of the officers and has considered the enquiry report and the report regarding the damage of the vehicle. The Labour Court has come to the conclusion that in the domestic enquiry as well as on the basis of the evidence and the oral evidence of the witnesses, it clearly appears that the petitioner was given proper opportunity during the enquiry and it cannot be said that there is any violation of the principle of natural justice and the petitioner has not been afforded an opportunity to cross examined the witnesses. A finding to this effect has also been recorded that the enquiry officer has taken the statements of the witnesses in front of the petitioner as such, there is no defect in the domestic enquiry, as such the Labour Court has held that there is no illegality or infirmity in the order passed by the competent authority. It is well settled now that the Labour Court is a last Court of fact and if the award passed by the Labour Court, is based on the appreciation on evidence and if a positive finding has been recorded this Court under 226 of the Constitution of India should not interfere.
I have perused the finding recorded by the Labour Court. The finding recorded by the Labour Court is a finding based on the evidence on record and after appreciation of evidence, as such, in my opinion, it is not a fit case in which there should be interference by this Court under Article 226 of the constitution of India.
The writ petition is devoid of merits and is hereby dismissed. Interim order, if any, is vacated.
There shall be no order as to costs.
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