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Madras High Court
Shanmugam vs The Presiding Officer on 22 August, 2011
       

  

  

 
 
 BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT

DATED: 22/08/2011

CORAM
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE VINOD K.SHARMA

W.P.(MD)No.7806 of 2006

Shanmugam                        ... Petitioner
		
Vs.

1.The Presiding Officer,
  Labour Court,
  Trichirappalli.

2.The Management,
  Tamilnadu State Transport Corporation
  (Kumbakonam Division-II) Limited,
   Trichirappali
  represented by its
  Managing Director,
  Trichirappalli.                  ... Respondents

PRAYER

Writ Petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of
India praying to issue a Writ of Certitiorarified Mandamus,  calling for the
records of the first respondent in I.D.No.14/2001 and award, dated 16.06.2004
and quash the same is illegal and directing the 2nd respondent to reinstate the
petitioner with continuity of service and full back-wages.

!For Petitioner	  ... Mr.S.Muthu Krishnan
^For 2 Respondent ... Mr.D.Muruganandam
                      Addl. Government Pleader

:ORDER

The petitioner has approached this court with a prayer, for issuance of a
writ, in the nature of certiorari, to quash the award passed by the learned
Labour Court, Trichirappalli, in answering the reference against the petitioner.

2.The petitioner was working as ‘Conductor’ with the Tamil Nadu State
Transport Corporation Ltd., since 1985. The petitioner was charged with
misappropriation of fund, on 9.6.2000 and was placed under suspension, on
16.06.2000. The domestic enquiry was held against the petitioner, in which, he
was held guilty of the charge of misappropriation, and accordingly, 2nd show
cause notice was issued against the proposed punishment.

3.Finding the explanation given by the petitioner to be not satisfactory,
he was ordered to be dismissed from service.

4.The petitioner raised an industrial dispute against the order of
dismissal, which was referred to the learned Labour Court. The petition was
contested wherein the stand of the Management was, that the petitioner was on
duty, in bus bearing registration No.TN45-N-1217, on 03.05.2000 on Karur to
Trichy route. The checking inspector checked the bus near Trichy Head office
around 3.10 p.m. The fare mentioned in four tickets were illegible and the
checking inspector accordingly wrote the fare as Rs.29/- [Rupees Twenty nine
only] in the invoice and concluded the checking.

5.The invoice was verified from 28.05.2000 to 02.6.2000, wherein
correction, in the fare, in 4 counter foils was detected.

6.The checking inspector asked the passengers, to travel in the bus and
bring the tickets. The bus passengers boarded the bus TN-45-N-1217 on 9.6.2000
at Pettavaithalai and travelled to Trichy. The petitioner received a sum of
Rs.36.25/- [Rupees Thirty six and Twenty five paise only] as fare from 5
passengers and issued 4 tickets.

7.The statement of those passengers, was also recorded, but subsequently,
it was found that the fare in the ticket was altered and shown as Rs.2.25/-
[Rupees Two and Twenty five paise only] instead of Rs.7.25/- [Rupees Seven and
Twenty five paise only] for each ticket. Thus, the petitioner misappropriated a
sum of Rs.15/-[Rupees Fifteen only].

8.On appreciation of evidence, the Enquiry Officer held that petitioner
guilty. The petitioner was also found to be guilty of misconduct, on seven
occasions earlier.

9.The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner did not challenge the
fairness of the domestic enquiry and made an endorsement in this regard.

10.In-spite of fact that, the endorsement was made by the learned counsel
appearing on behalf of the petitioner, before the learned Labour Court, not to
question the fairness of domestic enquiry, the learned Labour Court, still went
into the merit of the allegations and recorded that the charges against the
petitioner stood proved.

11.The documentary evidence was looked into by the learned Labour Court,
to record petitioner guilty. The learned Labour Court, held that the findings
of the Enquiry Officer could not be said to be perverse, or not based on
evidence. The learned Labour Court, thereafter considered the question, whether
the punishment awarded was harsh and grossly disproportionate to the nature of
misconduct.

12.The learned Labour Court, by relying on the judgment of the Hon’ble
Andhra Pradesh High Court in the case of A.Venkat Rao Vs. Depot Manager,
Charminar Depot APSRTC, Hyderabad and others, [2004 LLR 186] and that of the
Hon’ble Karnataka High Court, in the case of B.Krishnappa Vs. The Managing
Director, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Bangalore, [2003 LLR
411], held that the punishment for dismissal could not be said to be harsh or
disproportionate in case of proved charge of misappropriation of funds.

13.The reliance was also placed on the judgment of this court, in the case
of The Management of Dheeran Chinnamalai Transport Corporation Ltd., vs.
Presiding Officer, Labour Court,
[2002 LLR 1096], to uphold the punishment of
dismissal.

14.The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, challenged
the finding of the learned Labour Court, by contending that the charge of
misappropriation against the petitioner was not proved, as none of the
passengers were examined by the Enquiry Officer during the domestic enquiry, and
that the finding was recorded on the sole statement of the checking inspector,
which was merely on hearsay.

15.It is also the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner
that the finding of the enquiry officer, as also the learned Labour Court are
based on conjuncture and presumption, thus being perverse cannot be sustained,
in law.

16.On consideration, I find no force in the contentions raised by the
learned counsel for the petitioner.

17.The fairness of the enquiry was not challenged before the learned
Labour Court. In-spite of that, the learned Labour Court recorded an independent
finding, holding that the charges against the petitioner stood proved.

18.It is now well settled that in the domestic enquiry, hearsay, evidence
is admissible. The evidence of the checking inspector was based on the
documentary evidence of ticket’s counter foils. The documentary evidence was
duly exhibited on record, therefore, it cannot be said that that finding is
based on, no evidence or perverse, as contended by the learned counsel for the
petitioner.

19.The punishment of dismissal also cannot be said to be too harsh or
disproportionate to charge of misappropriation of fund, which is serious
misconduct. The punishment of the dismissal from service, therefore, cannot be
said too harsh or disproportionate to proved charges.

20.No merit. “Dismissed”.

21.No costs.

er

To,

The Presiding Officer,
Labour Court,
Trichirappalli.


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