MANU/SC/1200/2021

True Court CopyTM English

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 7536 of 2021 (Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 12369 of 2021)

Decided On: 08.12.2021

Appellants: Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation
Vs.
Respondent: Gajadhar Nath

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian

JUDGMENT

Hemant Gupta, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. The order dated 20.1.2021 passed by the High Court of Allahabad is the subject matter of challenge in the present appeal at the instance of the employer whereby the order dated 22.10.2008 passed by the Industrial Tribunal1 was not interfered with. The Tribunal directed that the Respondent2 be reinstated in service and ordered 50% of the salary to be paid for the period when he was not in employment.

3. The workman was removed from service as conductor on account of misconduct on 14.12.2001. He raised an industrial dispute which was referred to the Tribunal. On 5.5.2008, the Tribunal returned a preliminary finding that the domestic inquiry conducted into the charges levelled against the workman in question was not fair and proper. Therefore, the employer led evidence by examining Sheshmani Mishra, an Assistant Traffic Inspector3 who had conducted inspection of the vehicle on 12.11.1998. The said witness supported the report submitted by him to the Assistant Regional Manager as Ex. P/10. He deposed that he checked the bus at Katra when the bus was coming from Banda to Allahabad. All the 17 passengers in the bus had stated that they had given the money but the conductor did not issue even a single ticket. Thus, the Inspector concluded that all the passengers were without ticket. He also deposed that when he tried to record the statement of the passengers, the conductor misbehaved with him and used unruly words which he could not state even before the Court. In the cross-examination, he deposed that his report was dated 13.11.1998 and that such report does not bear the signature of driver or the conductor. Further, no statement of any of the passengers was filed.

4. The learned Tribunal considering the said statement, set aside the order of removal inter alia holding that the Inspector should have recorded the statements of passengers who have been found travelling without ticket and if they had shown reluctance in recording their statements, at least their oral statements, names and addresses must have been submitted. The Tribunal also returned a finding that the Inspector was not proved to have inspected the bus on 12.11.1998. It was also observed that if the conductor had misbehaved with the Inspector, why an FIR was not recorded in the concerned police station. On these grounds, the learned Tribunal set aside the order of removal.

5. The scope of an adjudicator under the Industrial Disputes Act, 19474 may be noticed. The domestic inquiry conducted can be permitted to be disputed before the Tribunal in terms of Section 11A of the Act. This Court in a judgment reported as Workmen of M/s. Firestone Tyre and Rubber Co. of India (P.) Ltd. v. Management and Ors. MANU/SC/0305/1973 : (1973) 1 SCC 813 held that in terms of Section 11A of the Act, if a domestic inquiry has been held and finding of misconduct is recorded, the auth........