The High Court delivered a common order for two writ petitions filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for issuance of a writ of certiorari and to quash the impugned orders of the Labour Court. The High Court upheld the order of the Labour Court in the judgment delivered on August 12th, 2020.
Facts of the Case
In the case of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Vs. The Labour Court, Tirunelveli & Ors, respondent no. 2 was a conductor in the corporation. He did a complaint against the branch manager for receiving a bribe. The Police registered a case against the manager but the corporation insisted the 2nd respondent to withdraw the complaint to which he refused. In vengeance, the petitioner corporation framed the charge of misappropriation of daily collection amount on the respondent. An enquiry was set up by the Corporation against the respondent for the charge of misappropriation against which a writ was filed in the High Court. The High Court ordered a stay on the enquiry.
Even After this, the respondent lost his job due to the termination. Aggrieved by the improper allotment of work to the conductors and drivers, respondent no. 2 filed an industrial dispute in the labour court of Tirunelveli. The Labour Court ordered in favour of the respondent and held the enquiry to be bad and violative of natural justice. Challenging the interim award, the corporation filed the first petition which was pending in the High Court. The Labour Court further issued an order through which the order of termination of the respondent from the job was set aside and ordered the reinstatement of him with back wage and all consequential benefits. Against this order, the corporation filed the second petition.
Arguments of the Petitioner
The petitioner/Corporation argued that:-
- The respondent made a false complaint to the police about the receipt of a bribe by the branch manager.
- The 2nd respondent didn’t remit the daily collection amount to the corporation.
- That despite the opportunity given, the 2nd respondent did not submit an explanation to the charges.
- That even after serving copies of documents and after affording an opportunity of cross-examining four Management side witnesses, the charges framed against the 2nd respondent got proved.
- That the Labour Court failed to note that the delinquent himself has endorsed in writing that the domestic enquiry was being conducted by giving full opportunity to him and he did not object to the same.
Arguments of the Respondent
- That the domestic enquiry was not conducted in a fair and proper manner and thus, held that the dismissal order passed based on the outcome of such enquiry was also perverse and accordingly set aside the order of dismissal.
- That the whole duration of enquiry was violative of principles of natural justice due to non-providing of opportunity to the 2nd respondent to submit his explanation to the charges and also for not providing an opportunity to examine further witnesses to prove his case.
Honourable Justice J. Nisha Banu completely agreed with the following observations of the Labour Court and didn’t find any “infirmity to interfere”:-
- The Labour Court held that it is not explained by the petitioner that after the dismissal of the writ petition of the 2nd respondent challenging charge memo, why they resorted to suspension without seeking an explanation from the 2nd respondent to the charges framed against him.
- The Labour Court held that the enquiry was conducted in violative of principles of natural justice due to non-providing of opportunity to the 2nd respondent to submit his explanation to the charges and also for not providing an opportunity to examine further witnesses to prove his case.
- That though the respondent informed the enquiry officer that he has further witness to be examined, the enquiry officer did not accept the same and concluded the enquiry.
The High Court dismissed both the petitions with no costs.
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