State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Muniruddin  INSC 236 (17 August 1990)
M.H. Kania, M.H. Reddy, K. Jayachandra (J)
1990 SCR (3) 777 1990 SCC (4) 464 JT 1990 (3) 494 1990 SCALE (2)250
Law: Disciplinary Enquiry--Non-supply of carbon copies of important
documents--Whether prejudice caused to the employee--High Court setting aside
concurrent findings of courts below--Whether justified--Lump sum com- pensation
towards back wages awarded instead of driving parties to go through indefinite
execution proceedings--Relief under Section 89 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 for
spreading to be given.
respondent, a bus-conductor in the appellant-State Road Transport Corporation,
was dismissed on the charge that he had erased the way-bills and resold some
already sold tickets. He filed a suit challenging the dismissal order on the
ground that carbon copies of certain important documents were not made
available to him during the enquiry and this had caused serious prejudice to
him. The trial court dis- missed the suit and the first appellate court also
dismissed his appeal. However, the High Court allowed his second appeal, and
held that the important documents had been purposely withheld, which had
resulted prejudice to the employee.
appellant-Corporation filed a Special Leave Petition before this Court,
contending that the High Court had gross- ly erred in interfering in second
appeal with the concurrent findings, and that the failure to produce the carbon
copies of some of the documents did not cause any prejudice and. at any rate,
it was a question of fact.
of the appeal, by special leave, this Court,
1. The High Court has not committed any error which warrants interference.
1780E] The respondent's plea has been that from the carbon copies he would have
shown that he could not have carried on the erasures or made false entries and,
therefore; non- supply of these carbon copies had caused great prejudice to
him. However, the trial court and the first appellate court held that no
prejudice was caused since he was 778 shown the originals. The High Court no
doubt has considered this aspect in detail and in doing so referred to the con-
tents of various documents. From this alone it cannot be said that the High
Court has not kept in view the scope of second appeal. [779G-H; 780A-B] Since
the employee has been throughout pleading that he did not make the erasures or
any other false entry, it naturally became necessary to see whether they were
also found in carbon copies. Therefore, the High Court considered the various
figures and entries in the originals in which such erasures were alleged to
have been made by the employee and eventually observed that the entire enquiry
was based on some of these documents, and if a carbon copy of the docu- ments
had been shown, the authority may well have been convinced that the charge levelled
against him was not correct, and that, therefore, the non-supply of these docu-
ments had caused prejudice. [780 D-E]
litigation is going on for the last 25 years and the respondent has already
reached the age of superannua- tion. Hence the parties need not be driven to go
through the indefinite execution proceedings again for backwages and allowances
and ends of justice require that a lump sum compensation should be granted.
Accordingly, a lump sum amount of Rs.35,000 is awarded and the amount should be
paid to the respondent without deducting the income tax. The respondent may
make an application under Section 89 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 for spreading
over this amount, and the concerned Income Tax Officers should also give the
necessary relief without any further enquiry. [780F; 781C-E] Sohan Singh v.
Union of India & Anr.,  1 SCC 162 and Sundaram Motors Pvt. Ltd. v. Ameerjan
& Ant.,  1 SCC 118, relied on.
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 3 169 of 1981.
the Judgment and Order dated 7.5.1981 of the Alla- habad High Court in Second
Appeal No. 1018 of 1974.
Mohan Rao and R. Ramachandran (N.P.) for the Appellant.
Markandeya, Mrs. Chitra Markandeya, W.A. Nomani and G.S. Giri for the
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by K. JAYACHANDRA REDDY, J. This is a
case where an order of dismissal passed in a departmental enquiry was
challenged in civil court and ultimately has found its way to this Court after
a long litigation for over 16 years. The re- spondent was a bus-conductor in
U.P. State Road Transport Corporation (Corporation' for short). A trap was laid
against him and a disciplinary enquiry was initiated and dismissal order was
passed on 23rd March,
1965. He filed a civil
suit questioning the same. One of the main plea taken by the respondent was
that certain important documents were not made available to him during the
enquiry and this caused serious prejudice to him. The trial court dismissed the
suit and an appeal preferred by him was also dismissed by the appellate court.
Relentless as he was, he carried the matter to the High Court by way of second
appeal and his plea was accepted by the High Court and the second appeal was
al- lowed. Aggrieved by the said judgment, the Corporation has approached this
behalf of the Corporation it is contended that the High Court has grossly erred
in interfering in a second appeal with the concurrent findings and that the
plea of the respondent that relevant documents were not supplied to him during
the enquiry has no substance.
the main issues framed before the trial court was whether all the way-bills,
carbon copies of the tickets issued on the said dates and carbon copy of
checking report were not shown to the delinquent employee by the investigat- ing
officer and if so what would be its effect? The charge against the respondent
was that he erased the waybills and resold some already sold tickets. During
the enquiry the delinquent employee was permitted to inspect the documents but
he intended to inspect the carbon copies and made a request by way of a letter.
However, the carbon copies of the way-bills dated 7th, 8th and 10th January, 1963 which are the relevant dates and
carbon copies of the checking report were not shown to him. The plea of the
delinquent employee has been that from the carbon copies he would have shown
that he could not have carried on such erasure or made false entries and
non-supply of them had caused great preju- dice. As already mentioned, the
trial court as well as the first appellate court did not accept this plea and
held that no prejudice was caused inasmuch as he was shown the origi- nals and
also on the ground that he did not later insisted on those carbon copies being
shown to him. The High Court, however, in an elaborate judgment referred to the
various documents 780 and it ultimately reached the conclusion that the important
documents have been purposely withheld which resulted in prejudice to the
employee. In this appeal, the learned counsel for the Corporation contended
that where failure to produce the carbon copies of some of the documents did
not cause any prejudice and that at any rate it is a question of fact, the High
Court erred in interfering in the second appeal. To satisfy ourselves we wanted
to peruse the judg- ments of the trial court as well as of the first appellate
court but the Corporation has not placed a copy of the appellate court judgment
before us. We have perused the trial court judgment and we find at more than
one place that the learned District Munsif has observed that the employee could
have insisted on production of these documents. The High Court no doubt has
considered this aspect in detail and in doing so has referred to the contents
of the various documents. From this alone it cannot be said that the High Court
has not kept in view the scope of second appeal. Since the employee has been
throughout pleading that he did not make the erasures or any other false entry,
it naturally became necessary to see whether they were also found in carbon
copies. From this point of view the High Court con- sidered the various figures
and entries in the originals in which such erasures and entries are alleged to
have been made by the employee and eventually observed that the entire enquiry
was based on some of these documents and if a carbon copy of the way-bills had
been shown, the authority may well have been convinced that the charge levelled
against him was not correct, and that, therefore the non-supply of these
documents has caused prejudice. Having examined the findings arrived at by the
High Court, we are unable to say that the High Court has committed any error
which warrants interfer- ence under Article 136 of the Constitution.
High Court decreed the suit for pendente-lite and future pay and allowances and
this was passed on 7th
May, 1981. It can
therefore be seen that for the last 25 years this litigation went on i.e. from
the date of dismissal till today. Admittedly the respondent has already reached
the age of superannuation some years ago. During these years the respondent
must have sought some employment or the other and the learned counsel also
could not seriously dispute the same. Under these circumstances the question is
whether again the parties should be driven to go through the indefi- nite
execution proceedings. On the question of granting lump sum amount towards the backwages
and allowances till the date of his retirement we have also heard both sides.
Under somewhat similar circumstances this Court in Sohan Singh v. Union of
India and Another,  1 SCC 162 granted lump 781 sum amount instead of
driving the parties to go to the executing court for further relief. That was a
case where the service of an airman in the Air Force was not extended for a
period of six years as per the regulation and the matter ultimately came up
before this Court. Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances this
Court held that the employee should be compensated by payment of a lump sum
amount in lieu of the benefits to which he would have been otherwise entitled
if he had continued in service for the extended period of six years. Without
going into the merits of the actual claim this Court awarded a sum of Rs.35,000
by way of compensation.
instant case also we are of the view that ends of justice require that such a
relief should be granted. Taking into consideration all these aspects including
that the respondent would have been entitled for some retirement benefit, we
award Rs.35,000 and direct the U.P. State Road Transport Corporation, the
appellant herein, to pay this amount to the respondent within two months from
today. Since the amount would be received in lump sum by the respondent, it may
attract the levy of income tax. But since the amount represents the salary and
allowances over the last so many years the respondent may make an application
under Section 89 of the Income Tax Act for spreading over this lump sum amount.
We may also point out that in similar circumstances, this Court, in Sundaram
Motors Pvt. Ltd. v. Ameerjan and Another,  1 SCC 118 where the
compensation by way of lump sum amount was awarded, observed that the same
should be spread over and gave a direction to the concerned Income Tax Officer
to give immediate relief under Section 89 with- out further enquiry.
We direct the Corporation to pay the lump sum amount of Rs.35,000 without
deducting income tax. Since the respondent is entitled for relief under Section
89 of the Income Tax Act, he shall make an application to the concerned Income
Tax Officer who shall give the necessary relief without any further enquiry.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly. In the circumstances of the case there
will be no order as to costs.
Appeal disposed of.