Transport Corporation Vs. Shyam Lal  INSC 452 (12 August 2004)
VARIAVA & ARIJIT PASAYAT
PASAYAT, J Delhi Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the 'employer')
calls in question legality of the judgment rendered by a Division Bench of the
Delhi High Court in Letters Patent Appeal No. 298/2002 filed by the respondent
(hereinafter referred to as the 'workman').
facts in a nutshell are as follows:
respondent-workman was found to have committed misconduct while working as a
conductor. He had collected money but had not issued tickets as was found
during a checking done by the concerned officials.
proceedings were initiated against him and he was found guilty. A charge sheet
in this regard was issued to the workman on 22.12.1988 and he submitted his
reply on 30.12.1988. Subsequently on 13.1.1989 and 24.2.1989, the workman
admitted his guilt and pleaded for leniency. Basing on his admission, he was
found guilty in the departmental proceedings and removed from service.
reference was made to the Industrial Tribunal under Section 32 (2) (b) of the
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (in short the 'Act') for approval of the order of
removal. The Tribunal did not accord approval being of the view that the
admission was really of no consequence and the officer who had conducted
enquiry had no direct evidence and the statement made by the person who had
paid the amount in question before the officer conducting the checking was in
the nature of hearsay evidence and was not of any consequence. Accordingly, the
approval sought for was rejected. The employer challenged the order of the
Tribunal before the Delhi High Court and a learned Single Judge by judgment
dated 21.12.2001 in CWP.
and connected CMs. held that the Tribunal's view was not defensible.
Accordingly, the writ petition was allowed and it was directed that approval in
terms of Section 33 (2)(b) of the Act was to be granted to the employer to
dismiss the respondent-workman.
workman assailed the judgment of the learned Single Judge by filing Letters
Patent Appeal. By the impugned judgment by which several LPAs and writ
petitions were disposed of, the view of the Tribunal was restored and that of
learned Single Judge was set aside.
counsel for the employer submitted that the High Court has fallen in grave
errors by considering the present case along with other cases which stood on
different footings. They related to unauthorized absence and the consequence
thereof. The present case stood on entirely different factual background and,
therefore, the High Court's judgment is not in order.
contra, learned counsel for the respondent-workman submitted that the Tribunal
has analysed the factual and the legal position in its proper perspective and
its refusal to accord approval cannot be termed to be arbitrary.
find that the Tribunal's conclusions are prima facie not correct.
statement made by the passenger who had paid excess money to the checking
officer is not in the nature of hearsay evidence. Additionally, the effect of
the admission regarding guilt as contained in the letters dated 13.1.1989 and
24.2.1989 have not been considered in the proper perspective.
is a fairly settled position in law that admission is the best piece of
evidence against the person making the admission. It is, however, open to the
person making the admission to show why the admission is not to be acted upon.
that as it may, we find that the Division Bench while dealing with Letters
Patent Appeal filed by the workman based its conclusions on other cases which
related to unauthorized absence and where the factual background was not
similar to those involved in the present case. On that short score alone, the
order of the Division Bench is to be quashed. We set aside impugned judgment of
the High Court and remit the matter back to it for consideration of the case on
its own merits in accordance with law. We make it clear that we have not
expressed any opinion on the merits of the case. The appeal is allowed to the
extent indicated above with no order as to costs.