U.P. State Textile
Corpn. Ltd. Vs. Suresh Kumar
O R D E R
The U.P. Textile Corporation
Limited, the appellant herein is, as of today, we are told, a defunct organization
and proceedings before the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR)
are going on. The respondent, Suresh Kumar, was appointed as a Deputy Manager (Export)
for a fixed tenure of three years vide order dated 21th april, 1987. As per this
order his services would come to an end automatically on the expiry of three years
from the date of his joining unless the term was extended as per Clause-1 thereof.
It was also stipulated in the aforesaid order that the tenure of the
appointment was terminable without assigning any reason on three months notice
from either side or on payment of salary in lieu thereof. Admittedly the
respondent joined the services of the appellant on the 7th September, 1987. His
services were however terminated vide order dated 26th April, 1989 on the
ground that he was in the habit of remaining absent for long periods of time
without prior approval and that he had been on unauthorized absence from March,
The order of 26th April,
1989 was challenged by the respondent before the U.P. Public Services Tribunal.
The Tribunal vide its judgment dated 7.5.1992 held that the order impugned before
it was stigmatic inasmuch that it referred to the continued absence of the
respondent over a long period and in this view of the matter it could not be
sustained. The relief of reinstatement with continuity of service and back wages
was accordingly ordered by the Tribunal. This order was challenged by the
appellant-Corporation before the Allahabad High Court. The writ petition has been
dismissed vide judgment dated 21.5.2007 on similar grounds. It is in this
background that the matter is before us. The learned counsel for the appellant has
raised primarily two arguments before us.
He has contended that
the reference to the unauthorized absence of the respondent could not in any manner
be said to be stigmatic and that the finding to the contrary was unsustainable.
Alternatively he has contended that the respondent had joined the post on the 7th
September, 1987 for a period of three years which would have come to an end on
the 6th September, 1990 and as such the direction for reinstatement could not have
been granted to him. It has been pleaded that as a consequence of the order of
the Tribunal and of the High Court, the respondent has been put back into service.
The learned counsel for
the respondent has however supported the judgments of the Tribunal and the High
Court. In the facts of the case we need not examine the effect of the order dated
26th April 1989 whereby the services of the respondent had been terminated as being
stigmatic or not as we are of the opinion that in the light of the fact that
appointment itself was for a fixed period of three years which would have come
to an end on the 6th September, 1990, no relief beyond that period could have
been given to the respondent by the Tribunal or the High Court.
We accordingly feel
that these orders need to be modified to the extent that the appellant shall be
deemed to be in service up to the 6th September, 1990 and not thereafter. The other
question relates to the back wages for a period of one year and five months. We
are of the opinion that the grant of back wages is a matter of discretion
vested in the Court and the conduct of an employee is an extremely relevant factor
on this aspect. The financial status of the employer must also be kept in mind.
We are therefore of the opinion that the conduct of the respondent and the financial
status of the appellant does not justify the payment of any back wages. Accordingly,
we allow the appeal in the above terms.
(HARJIT SINGH BEDI)
(CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)