Coking Coal Ltd. & Ors Vs. Babulal & Anr  INSC 888 (5 August 1996)
K. Ramaswamy, K.G.B. Pattanaik (J)
APPEAL N0.10867 OF 1996 (Arising out of SLP (C) No.5716 of 1996)
O R D
have heard learned counsel on both sides.
appeals arise from the order made on November 21, 1995 by the Division Bench of the
Calcutta High Court in FMAT No.1548/90 and 250/92. Admitted position is that
the respondent Babulal was Senior Mining Engineer and the other first
respondent Maheshwari Sharma was a Manager working in the South Govindpur
Colliery, Govindpur area. On June 30, 1989,
an accident had occurred at 2.00 p.m. due
to fall of the roof in XI Seam (of coal) due to which five miners died and two miners
were seriously injured. It is the case of the appellant that both the first
respondents were not present at the site nor had they Waken necessary safety
precautions to aver accident to the miners. A fact finding Committee came to be
appointed co find out the cause for the death of the five and injury to two
miners. The report dated July
1, 1989 appears to
have put it pointedly That there was dereliction of the duty on the part of the
respondents resulting in the mine accident. Consequently, the appellant
exercised the power under Rule 12.4(1)(c) of the Common Coal Cadre, 1974 which
reads as under:
Termination (i) Unless otherwise specifically provided, the contract of
appointment of the executive Cadre employee may be terminated otherwise than on
With three months' notice or pay in lieu thereof on confirmation in the
service, on either side." On the basis thereof, the service of both the
first respondents came co be terminated. It is not in dispute that this Court Sn
C.A. No.3673 of 1988 titled G.P. Lal vs. Coal India Ltd. had struck down the
rule as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Consequently, the rule was
never in vogue to invoke the exercise of the power by the appellants.
question then is: what would be the position of the respondents? lt is not far
to seek that when charge of dereliction of duty was Imputed to both the first
respondents, it was necessary to hold an enquiry to give an opportunity to them
before taking any disciplinary action for the alleged dereliction of the duty.
It is, therefore, necessary that the appellant should hold an enquiry against
both the first respondents giving reasonable opportunity to them according to
the rule. Constitution bench rendered the decision in Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderaded
& Ors. vs. B. Karnukar & Ors. [(1993) 4 SCC 7274 had held that the
delinquent must be deemed to be under suspension pending enquiry.
view of the above, we hold that the respondents are entitled to the subsistence
allowance during the pending enquiry. Enquiry should be completed within six
months from the date of the receipt of the order. Subsistence allowance shall
be paid within six weeks from the date of receipt of the copy or the order.
appeals are accordingly disposed of. No costs.