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Punjab Diary Development Corporation V. Kala Singh [1997] INSC 521 (7 May 1997)

K. RAMASWAMY, S. SAGHIRAHMAD, G.B. PATTANAIK

ACT:

HEADNOTE:

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 228 OF1995 O R D E R In CA No. 6339/94 he was charged for the misconduct that on April 28,1990 and onother dates, he inflated the quantumof themilk supplies in milk centres to the appellant-Corporation and also inflated the quality of the fat contents, while there were less fat contents. After conducting the domestic enquiry, the disciplinary authoritydismissed himfrom service. On reference,the Labour Court found that the domestic enquiry conducted bythe appellant was defective.

Consequently, opportunity; wasgiven to the Management to adduce evidence afreshto justify the order of dismissal.

Accordingly, evidence was adduced by the appellant aswell as the delinquent-respondent. On consideration of the evidence, the Labour court by its award dated November 14,1990held that thecharge had been proved against the respondent. Onthe quantum ofpunishment, it was heldthat the punishmentwas notdisproportionate to themagnitude of the Misconductof the respondent. However, on filing of the writ petition,the High Courtset aside theaward of the reference Curtto theextent of the confirmation of the dismissal from service with effect the date of the judgement of the Labour Courtan not from anydate earlier thereto. This court while granting leave referred the matter to three judgeBench to consider thecorrectness of the judgment in Desh Raj Gupta's case (supra) inthe light of the judgment of the Constitution Bench. Subsequent to the reference, another Bench of two judges has elaborately considered theentire case law in R. Thiruvirkolam vs. Presiding officer & Anr. [(1997) 1 SCC 9]. Inthe decision of theConstitution Bench in P.H. Kalyani vs. Air France [(1964)2 SCR 104], This court had heldthat once the Labour Court found the domestic enquiry to be defective andgave opportunity to the parties to adduce the evidence foundthat the order of termination of the service or dismissalfrom serviceis valid. it would relate back to the original order of thedismissal. buta discarded note was expressed by Sabha [(1980) 2 SCC 593] whichwas considered by this Court This matter has come up by way of reference madeby a bench of three Judges to consider the decision of this court in Desh Raj Gupta vs.Industrial Tribunal. IV, U.P. &Anr.

[(1991)1 SCC 249] With a viewto appreciate the contention of theparties, it isnecessary to record few relevant facts. While the respondent was working as a Dairy Helper- cum-Cleaner forcollecting the milk from various center in Thiruvirkolam case (supra)and it was heldthat inview of the judgmentof the constitution Bench, three-judge Bench judgment was not correct. Desh Rai Gupta's case wasalso considered andit washeld that it has not been correctly decided. Thus,we are relievedof reviewing the entirecase law in that behalf.

Inview of the aforesaiddecisions and in view of the findings recorded by the labour court, weare of the considered opinion that the view expressed in Desh Raj Gupta'scase is not correct. It is accordingly over-ruled.

Following the judgmentof theConstitution Bench, wehold that on the Labour court's recordinga finding that the domestic enquiry was defective and giving opportunity to adduce the evidence by the management and the workman and recording of t he finding that the dismissal by the management wasvalid. it would relate back to the date of the original dismissal and not from thedate ofthe judgment of the Labour Court.

The appeal is accordingly allowed. The order of the High Court stands set aside. Nocosts.

In CA No. 228/95 This is across appeal filed bythe workman. It is contended by the learned counsel forthe workman that the chargeswere not correct; the Labour Court hasnot properly considered theevidence and the view that the order relates back to the date of the dismissal wasnot correct. Wefind no force in thecontention. It is seen that theLabour Court after adduction of evidence came to the conclusion that the dismissal is justifiable. On the basis of the evidence adducedbeforeit, nodoubt,the Labour Court has not elaborately consideredthe entire evidence, but agreed to the decision that the misconduct hasbeen proved. Inview of theproof of misconduct, the necessary consequence would be that the management has lost t he confidence that the appellant would truthfully and faithfully carry on his duties and consequentlythe labour Court rightly declined to exercise the power under Section 11-A to grant relief of reinstatement with minor penalty.

The appealis accordingly dismissed. No costs.

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