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The Delhi High Court has directed a firm to reinstate an employee terminated illegally.

Justice Kailash Gambhir directed the firm, Hansita, to reinstate Shiv Kumar on the post of machineman and also asked the company to pay him 50 percent of the wages due to him since his termination in 1992.

In 1976, Kumar was appointed in the company as a machineman with the last drawn wage of Rs.3,200 per month.

When he raised some legal demands, the management got annoyed and terminated him June 18, 1992.

Kumar then approached the labour court, which in its decision in 2002, gave no relief to him. He then challenged the order in high court.

“During the entire tenure of service, Kumar did not give any opportunity of complaint to his superiors and had worked with the management diligently and honestly. It is only when Kumar had raised certain legal demands that the management got annoyed. The service of Kumar was illegally and unjustifiably terminated by the company without there being any reason,” counsel for Kumar said.

Giving relief to Kumar, the high court said in an order passed last week: “Abandonment of service is a question of intention which can be gathered from the totality of the facts and circumstances of each case. There has to be a clear evidence on record to show that despite grant of reasonable opportunity to the employee by the management, he failed to join back his duties without any sufficient reasons.”

“Therefore, in the absence of any such cogent and convincing evidence, voluntarily abandonment on the part of the employee cannot be readily inferred,” the court said.

The company claimed that it sent many notices to Kumar to join back his duty but when no reply was received from him, his services were terminated.

On this, the court said: “The petitioner who had put in 16 years of long service is not expected to be thrown out of employment just based on three UPC (Under Postal Certificate) letters purported to have been sent to him requiring him to join back his duties.”

“Had the petitioner been not willing to join back his duties, he would not have sent demand notices just within a period of one-and-a-half month of his termination and immediately thereafter having raised an industrial dispute,” the court said.

“It is also not in dispute that the company did not issue any memo or set up an enquiry for the unauthorized absenteeism of the petitioner from his duties and it is quite evident that with the help of such UPC letters the company prepared the ground to circumvent the legitimate rights of the petitioner,” the court said while directing the company to reinstate the petitioner with continuity of service and grant of back wages

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