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B.K. GULBAL (SINCE DECEASED) BY HIS L.RS & OTHERS V/S THE MANAGEMENT OF K.S.R.T.C., BELAGAVI DIVISION, BELAGAVI, decided on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
[ In the High Court of Karnataka Circuit Bench At Dharwad, Writ Appeal No. 100831 of 2015 (L-TER). ] 31/05/2017
Judge(s) : DR. VINEET KOTHARI & DR. H.B. PRAIUIAKARA SASTRY
Advocate(s) : Ravi Hedge. Shivakumar S. Badawadagi.
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  "2017 (4) KantLJ 10"  ==   "2017 LLR 840"  ==   ""  







    Dr. Vineet Kothari J.1. This writ appeal is directed against the order passed by the learned Single Judge on 14-8-2015 dismissing the writ petition filed by the workman upholding his dismissal from service as conductor in the respondent-KSRTC.2. The appellant/petitioner-Mr. Bhimappa Gulabal has expired on 13-8-2013 and is now representing by his legal representatives Smt. Laxmibai his wife and two children. The learned Single Judge noticing the fact that the petitioner-conductor was found guilty of 10 other misconducts of similar nature within a past period of 10 years of his service held that he was not entitled for any sympathetic consideration and the termination upheld by the Labour Court could not be faulted.3. The case of the respondent-employer against the present appellant/petitioner was that on the date of checking on 18-11-1993 he was found with 144 passengers in the bus and 29 passengers were found without tickets. The observations of the learned Single Judge in paras 5 and 6 are quoted below for ready reference :5. The learned Counsel for the respondent on the other hand would submit that the petitioner who was a conductor was responsible for ensuring that persons do not travel on the top of the bus and he was required to issue tickets to passengers between stages and since the bus was intercepted beyond the stage where he ought to have issued tickets the charge was held established and further there was inordinate delay in the petitioner seeking conciliation and the matter being referred to adjudication on failure of the conciliation and the petitioner was found guilty of 10 other misconduct of similar nature within a period of 10 years of service he did not entail any sympathy and the termination having been upheld by the Labour Court cannot be faulted. It is also pointed out by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the question of providing a largess to the legal representatives of the petitioner on the footing that they are in dire financial strains would be misplaced sympathy nor is the claim for appointment on compassionate ground tenable as there is no rule which provides for conferring such benefit to the legal representatives of a workman who was found guilty of misconduct and hence seeks dismissal of the petition.6. Having regard to the facts and circumstances since it is established that the bus was intercepted at a point much beyond the stage at which he ought to have closed the waybill after issuing tickets it is evident that the workman had committed misconduct in not issuing tickets and the claim that the petitioner was not aware of persons travelling on the top of the bus also cannot be rightly accepted. If this is a frequent occurrence of unauthorised passengers climbing on the top of the roof of the bus and travelling the petitioner would have been well-aware of it. Therefore his defence would not be accepted. Especially since there were ten earlier cases of such misconduct by the petitioner and therefore the plea of sympathetic consideration of the plight of the legal representatives also does not hold water. There is no merit in this petition and the same is dismissed.4. The learned Counsel for the appellant-Mr. Ravi Hegde has urged before us that a sympathetic view deserves to be taken and modifying the punishment the dismissal order of the appellant deserves to be set aside and a lesser punishment may be imposed on the appellant/petitioner so that the terminal benefits upon his superannuation could be given to the legal representatives of the present appellant who had since expired on 13-8-2013. He has relied upon a decision of the Division Bench of this Court in the case ofKarnataka State Road Transport Corporation v. K.H. Ramegowda Writ Appeal No. 127 of 2002 (L-KSRTC) dated 19-9-2002.5. The learned Counsel for the respondent-KSRTC has however supported the impugned order.6. Having heard the learned Counsel for the parties we are of the opinion that the impugned order of the learned Single Judge is unassailable and does not require any interference in the present appeal.7. The defence which is now sought to be placed before us as a mitigating factor by the learned Counsel for the appellant that on the ground of huge crowd of 144 passengers in the said bus and only 29 passengers could not be issued the tickets was not believed by the Disciplinary Authority as well as the Departmental Appellate Authority and the Labour Court. The Courts below have not only gone on the misconduct proved and the appellant having been found guilty of taking the passengers without tickets in the bus in which he was the Conductor on that given date but the Courts below have also looked into the past conduct/misconduct of the appellant. In as many as 10 cases of similar misconduct he was found guilty in past 10 years of his service career. The appellant therefore could be presumed to be a kind of habitual delinquent.8. The very job of the Conductor of the State Road Transport Carriage is to ensure that there is no loss of public revenue and all the passengers travelling in the said State carriage pay their due fare. If a Conductor of a State Road Transport Corporation is found to be carrying the passengers without tickets not on one but on several occasions the very duty or job assigned to such person is not being performed by the conductor properly. The confidence of the employer reposed in that person who is responsible for collecting the revenue on behalf of the Corporation can be completely shaken if the Conductor carries the passengers without tickets.9. In such cases if a lenient view or misplaced sympathy was to be placed for the benefit of the employee or workman the very purpose of taking the disciplinary action against the delinquent would suffer a set back. The interference by the Courts in the quantum of punishment cannot usually be made unless the punishment imposed by the Disciplinary Authority or Departmental Appellate Authority is shockingly disproportionate and perverse. It is best left to the wisdom of the concerned authorities themselves who have to manage the affairs of such Government Undertakings and it is not for the Courts or Tribunals to substitute their own wisdom or personal perceptions in such cases.10. We are not at all persuaded to tinker with the quantum of punishment of dismissal imposed in the present case merely because of the number passengers in the bus on the given date or the fact that the workman has expired during the pendency of the writ petition before the learned Single Judge.11. In the judgment in K.H. Ramegowda's case (supra) relied upon by the learned Counsel for the appellant in para 14 the Division Bench observed that in view of the fact that Disciplinary Authority did not take any action for four years and permitted tire employee to continue in service it can be inferred that the Disciplinary Authority had decided that punishment would not be dismissal or removal from service. In the facts of the present case the date of enquiry report finding the appellant guilty of the misconduct was given on 28-10-1994 and the Disciplinary Authority passed the dismissal order on 18-4-1996 in about 1 years of giving of the enquiry report. This time period obviously was taken in giving an opportunity of hearing to the delinquent himself. The said period cannot be said to be abnormally long defeating the imposition of the penalty itself. Therefore we find that the judgment relied upon by the learned Counsel for the appellant is distinguishable on facts.12. On an overall view of the matter we are satisfied that no relief can be granted to the present appellant/petitioner in the present writ petition/appeal. The appeal is thus found to be devoid of merit and is liable to be dismissed.13. The appeal is accordingly dismissed. No costs.