North West Karnataka
Road Transport Corp Vs. H.H.Pujar  INSC 1176 (18 July 2008)
JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4520 OF 2008 (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No.5120
of 2007) North West Karnataka Road Transport Corpn. ...Appellant Versus H.H.
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Karnataka High
Court in the writ appeal no.3830/2005 dismissing appeal against the order of
learned Single Judge in Writ Petition No.17519/2000. The writ appeal was
dismissed as not maintainable and, therefore, the challenge in the present is
essential to the order of learned Single Judge.
facts in a nutshell are as follows:
was commissioning as such in Bus No. F-16 on 15.9.1993 when the bus was
intercepted by the checking staff. It was found that the respondent had not
issued tickets to 20 out of 136 passengers. Appellant conducted domestic
enquiry which found him guilty.
Consequently, he was
dismissed from service vide order dated 3.4.1995. The same was challenged by
the respondent before the Labour Court invoking Section 10(4-A) of the
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (in short the 'Act'). The Labour Court held that
the domestic inquiry was fair and proper on the basis of the memorandum filed
by the respondent conceding to the fairness of the domestic inquiry. However,
the Labour Court set aside the order of dismissal and directed reinstatement of
respondent with full back wages, continuity of service and other consequential
benefits. The basis for this order was non- checking of cash bag of the
respondent and non-examination of ticketless passengers. The order was
challenged before the High Court. By order dated 21.10.2005, the learned Single
Judge held that the order was correct so far as setting aside dismissal order
is concerned, direction for reinstatement and continuity of service and
consequential benefits. However, the direction relating to back wages was set
aside. The writ appeal as noted above, was dismissed on the ground that the
same was not maintainable.
support of the appeal learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the
primary reason indicated by the Labour Court to hold that the order of dismissal
was bad, was the alleged non-examination of the passengers to whom the
respondent had not issued the tickets. It also did not find any substance in
the stand of the Corporation that earlier also on 12 occasions for similar
charges punishments were awarded but the respondent did not improve his
conduct. The High Court found that the conclusions of the Labour Court were
correct. It was noted that if more passengers were carried within the
permissible limit, it was fault of the Corporation who did not took timely
reformative and remedial measures.
counsel for the appellant submitted that the view expressed by the High Court
is clearly contrary to the law laid down by this Court. Further, when the
respondent himself conceded to the fairness of the proceedings and the fact
that he had not issued tickets to twenty passengers, their non- examination is
of no consequences.
is no appearance on behalf of the respondent in spite of service of notice.
State of Haryana and Anr. v. Rattan Singh (1977 (2) SCC 491), it was, inter
alia, held as follows:
"4. It is well
settled that in a domestic enquiry the strict and sophisticated rules of
evidence under the Indian Evidence Act may not apply. All materials which are
logically probative for a prudent mind are permissible.
There is no allergy
to hearsay evidence provided it has reasonable nexus and credibility. It is
true that departmental authorities and Administrative Tribunals must be careful
in evaluating such material and should not glibly swallow what is strictly
speaking not relevant under the Indian Evidence Act. For this proposition it is
not necessary to cite decisions nor text books, although we have been taken
through case- law and other authorities by counsel on both sides. The essence
of a judicial approach is objectivity, exclusion of extraneous materials or
considerations and observance of rules of natural justice. Of course, fairplay
is the basis and if perversity or arbitrariness, bias or surrender of
independence of judgment vitiate the conclusions reached, such finding, even
though of a domestic tribunal, cannot be held good. However, the courts below
misdirected themselves, perhaps, in insisting that passengers who had come in
and gone out should be chased and brought before the tribunal before a valid
finding could be recorded. The `residuum' rule to which counsel for the
respondent referred, based upon certain passages from American Jurisprudence
does not go to that extent nor does the passage from Halsbury insist on such
rigid requirement. The simple point is, was there some evidence or was there no
evidence -- not in the sense of the technical rules governing regular court
proceedings but in a fair commonsense way as men of understanding and worldly
wisdom will accept.
Viewed in this way,
sufficiency of evidence in proof of the finding by a domestic tribunal is
beyond scrutiny. Absence of any evidence in support of a finding is certainly
available for the court to look into because it amounts to an 5 error of law
apparent on the record. We find, in this case, that the evidence of Chamanlal,
Inspector of the Flying Squad, is some evidence which has relevance to the
charge levelled against the respondent. Therefore, we are unable to hold that
the order is invalid on that ground.
5. Reliance was
placed, as earlier stated, on the non-compliance with the departmental
instruction that statements of passengers should be recorded by inspectors.
These are instructions of prudence, not rules that bind or vitiate in the
violation. In this case, the Inspector tried to get the statements but the
passengers declined, the psychology of the latter in such circumstances being
understandable, although may not be approved. We cannot hold that merely
because statements of passengers were not recorded the order that followed was
invalid. Likewise, the re-evaluation of the evidence on the strength of
co-conductor's testimony is a matter not for the court but for the
Administrative Tribunal. In con- clusion, we do not think the courts below were
right in overturning the finding of the domestic tribunal."
view was reiterated in Divisional Controller KSRTC (NWKSRTC) v. A.T. Mane (2004
(8) SCALE 308).
rightly contended by the appellant since fairness of the proceedings was
conceded and the respondent admitted that he had not issued tickets to 20
passengers, their non- examination is really of no consequence.
view of what has been stated by this Court in Rattan Singh's case (supra) and
in A.T. Mane's case (supra) award of the Labour Court and impugned order of the
High Court cannot be maintained and are set aside. The order of dismissal
passed by the Corporation is to operate.
appeal is allowed without any order as to costs.
ARIJIT PASAYAT) .........................................J.