MISCONDUCT BY BUS CONDUCTOR
Industrial Dispute Act, 1947
Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation VS Bharat Singh Jhala (Dead) Son of Shri Nathu Singh, through Legal Heirs & Anr .[SUPREME COURT-30-09-2022]
Section 10 – Misconduct by conductor – Non-issuance of tickets to 10 passengers, even after receiving fare
At the outset, it is required to be noted that the workman was subjected to departmental enquiry and the charge against the deceased workman was not issuing the tickets to 10 passengers though he collected the fare. On conclusion of the departmental enquiry his services were terminated. The termination was the subject matter of the approval application before the Industrial Tribunal in an application under Section 33(2)(b) of the I.D. Act. In the said proceedings the management was permitted to lead the evidence and prove the charge/misconduct before the Tribunal. In the said application the parties led the evidence, both, oral as well as documentary. Thereafter on appreciation of evidence on record, the Industrial Tribunal by order dated 21.07.2015 approved the order of termination. That thereafter the workman raised the Industrial Dispute challenging the order of termination which as such was proved by the Industrial Tribunal by order dated 21.07.2015. Therefore, once the order of termination was approved by the Industrial Tribunal and the management was permitted to lead the evidence and prove the misconduct before the Court and thereafter on appreciation of evidence the order of termination was approved, thereafter the fresh reference under Section 10 of the I.D. Act challenging the order of termination was not permissible. It is required to be noted that the order dated 21.07.2015 passed by the Industrial Tribunal which as such is a higher forum than the Labour Court had attained the finality. Though the aforesaid fact was pointed out before the High Court, the High Court has not at all considered and/or appreciated the same and has confirmed the judgment and award passed by the Labour Court for setting aside the order of termination which as such was approved by the Industrial Tribunal.
5.2. Now so far as the reliance placed upon the decision of this Court in the case of John D’Souza (supra) by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent is concerned, on facts the said decision shall not be applicable to the facts of the case on hand. In the present case by specific order the Industrial Tribunal permitted the management to lead the evidence and prove the misconduct before the Court which as such was permissible. That thereafter the Industrial Tribunal approved the order of termination. Once the order of termination was approved by the Industrial Tribunal on appreciation of evidence led before it, thereafter the findings recorded by the Industrial Tribunal were binding between the parties. No contrary view could have been taken by the Labour Court contrary to the findings recorded by the Industrial Tribunal.
- In view of the above, the judgment and award passed by the Labour Court confirmed by the High Court is unsustainable. The High Court has committed a very serious error in dismissing the writ petition/writ appeal confirming the judgment and award passed by the Labour Court setting aside the order of termination.