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APSRTC National Mazdoor Union, rep. by its General Secretary, G.V. Reddy & Others v/s A.P. State Road Transport Corporation, rep. by its Managing Director & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- GV CORPORATION LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U22130TN2006PLC060979

Company & Directors' Information:- UNION TRANSPORT (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Not available for efiling] CIN = U60231TN1993PTC026208

Company & Directors' Information:- NATIONAL TRANSPORT AND GENERAL CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U99999PB1944PTC000672

Company & Directors' Information:- NATIONAL UNION CORPN PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51909WB1940PTC010240

Company & Directors' Information:- NATIONAL UNION LTD [Not available for efiling] CIN = U74999KL1951PLC000818

    W.P.M.P. No. 45693 of 2014 in W.P. No. 36504 of 2014

    Decided On, 02 December 2014

    At, In the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R. KANTHA RAO

    For the Petitioners: A.K. Jayaprakash Rao, Counsel. For the Respondents: K.V. Subbareddy, SC for APSRTC.



Judgment Text

1. This miscellaneous petition is filed seeking a direction to respondents Nos. 1 to 3 (sic. 33) not to recover any amount from the salaries of members of the petitioner union, numbering 5061, towards loss of revenue said to have been incurred by the Corporation on account of strike and to suspend the operation of the alleged show cause notices of different dates issued by respondents Nos. 2 to 33.

2. The main writ petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking a Writ of Mandamus declaring the alleged show cause notices of different dates issued by respondents Nos. 2 to 33, proposing to recover alleged loss of revenue from the salaries of members of the petitioner union, numbering 5061, including writ petitioners Nos2 to 33 as illegal, unjust, contrary to law, discriminatory amounting to an act of victimization, unfair labour practice and in violation of principles of natural justice.

3. I have heard Sri A.K. Jayaprakash Rao, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners and Sri Subbareddy, learned standing counsel, appearing for the respondent Corporation.

4. When the matter camp up for hearing initially on 28.11.2014, this Court upon hearing the learned counsel on either side, passed an interim order directing the respondent Corporation not to disburse the wages till 01.12.2014 and consequently not to effect any recoveries till 01.12.2014, and the said interim order is extended till today.

5. Now this miscellaneous petition came up for hearing today. The respondent Corporation did not file any counter. The learned standing counsel appearing for the respondent Corporation however advanced his arguments at length, citing some judgments of the Apex Court and this Court in support of his contentions.

6. The brief facts necessary for disposing of this interlocutory application may be stated as follows:

According to the petitioners, the 1st petitioner union is a State recognized union in Kadapa, Kurnool and Anantapur as per code of discipline, and the same has entered into several settlements with the respondent corporation for the welfare of the employees. The petitioner union is a single largest union having its membership of 45,000 in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

7. It is submitted that the petitioner union submitted a charter of demands on 27.08.2014 to the respondent corporation bringing to their notice the discriminatory treatment being meted out to the members of the union, more particularly, about resorting to vindictive attitude against the members of the union and victimizing them on petty issues. It is submitted that apart from submitting the charter of demands, the petitioner union issued a strike notice on 27.08.2014 stating therein that if the demands were not considered, the employees would resort to go on strike on or before 11.09.2014. Consequent upon the strike notice, the members of the petitioner union abstained from their duties for the period from 27.09.2014 to 29.09.2014. Thereafter, according to the petitioners, the Executive Directors of the respondent Corporation called for a meeting and negotiated with the office bearers of the petitioner union which resulted in calling off the strike, as the respondent Corporation promised to look into the matter and take appropriate action. The version of the petitioners is that during the discussions, it was specifically agreed by the respondent Corporation that for the strike period i.e. from 27.09.2014 to 29.09.2014 the employees will not be paid any wages and no penal action will be initiated against them. It is submitted by the petitioners that subsequently stating that the members of the petitioner union resorted to illegal strike, the respondent Corporation issued the impugned show cause notices proposing to recover the alleged loss of revenue from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union.

8. The issue which arises for determination in this interlocutory application is, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, whether an interim order directing the respondent Corporation not to recover any amounts from the salaries of the Members of the Petitioner Union, numbering 5061, can be passed pending disposal of the main writ petition.

9. Sri A.K. Jayaprakas Rao, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners would submit that the impugned show cause notices were issued contrary to the mutual agreement entered into between the members of the petitioner union and the respondent Management at the time of calling off the strike; in spite of the request made by the petitioners to furnish the relevant material basing on which the respondent Corporation proposing to recover the amount from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union, the respondent Corporation did not furnish any material, and thereby violated the principles of natural justice. The learned counsel further submits that resorting to strike by the members of the petitioner union itself cannot be termed as illegal without there being any adjudication that the strike resorted to by the members of the petitioner union as illegal, and the manner and method being adopted by the respondent Corporation for recovering amounts from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union is not in accordance with law and hence the same has to be stayed pending disposal of the writ petition.

10. On the other hand, Sri Subbareddy, learned standing counsel appearing for the respondent Corporation, apart from questioning the maintainability of the writ petition on that ground that the petitioners cannot seek the relief in respect of 5061 members of the petitioner union in a Single writ petition, would submit that the writ petition itself is not maintainable against mere show cause notices contemplating some action against the members of the petitioner union. The learned counsel would also submit that on 29.11.2014 a final order was passed by the respondent Corporation pursuant to the show cause notices, directing recovery of the amounts from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union in respect of the loss occasioned to the respondent Corporation on account of the strike resorted to by the members of the petitioner union.

11. In support of his contention that the writ petition is not maintainable against a show cause notice, the learned standing counsel appearing for the respondent Corporation relied upon a decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Union of India v. Kunisetty Satyanarayana (1) 2007 (1) SCJ 102 = (2006) 12 SCC 28 wherein it was held that;

'Ordinarily a writ petition should not be entertained against a mere show cause notice or charge sheet as it may be held to be premature. A mere charge sheet or show cause notice does not give rise to any cause of action, because it does not amount to an adverse order which affects the rights of any party unless the same has been issued by a person having no jurisdiction to do so. It is quite possible that after considering the reply to the show cause notice or after holding an enquiry the authority concerned may drop the proceedings and/or hold that the charges are not established. It is well settled that a writ petition lies when some right of any party is infringed. It is only when a final order imposing some punishment or otherwise adversely affecting a party is passed, that the said party can be said to have any grievance.'

However, in the aforesaid judgment, the Hon’ble Supreme Court pointed out that in some very rare and exceptional cases, the High Court can quash a charge sheet or show cause notice if it is found to be without jurisdiction or for some other reasons if it is wholly illegal. Therefore, it cannot be said that under no circumstances the writ petition is not maintainable against a show cause notice, as it all depends upon the fact situation in each case and the position in which the petitioner is placed on the date of filing of the writ petition. Therefore, the judicial review by way of interference with the show cause notice is not altogether excluded and the judicial review can be exercised in rare and exceptional cases.

12. As regards the other contention relating to the maintainability of the writ petition against all the members of the petitioner union, the 1st petitioner union is a State registered union which espoused the cause of all the members of the Union and therefore, it cannot be said that a single writ petition by paying single court fee is not maintainable. Further more, while dealing with the miscellaneous petitions, this Court is not supposed to go into minute details with regard to the maintainability of the writ petition since any such defect can be cured at a later stage. Therefore, I do not accede to the contentions raised by the leaned standing counsel appearing for the respondent Corporation with regard to maintainability of the writ petition.

13. The learned standing counsel appearing for the respondent Corporation also relied on a judgment of the Division Bench of this Court in APSRTC National Mazdoor Union v. APSRTC (2) 1997 (6) ALT 767 (D.B) wherein the Division Bench of this court took the view that the disciplinary authority has a right to impose punishment of penal wage cut in addition to deduction of two days wages for absence from duty without any reason.

14. Since now this Court is concerned with the determination of interlocutory application, the question whether the Respondent Corporation can resort to penal wage cut in addition to deduction of 3 days wages need not be gone into at his stage. In this interlocutory miscellaneous application, this Court now is concerned with the sole question as to whether an interim direction not to recover any amounts from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union towards loss of revenue of the Corporation can be passed or not.

15. This Court initially on 28.11.2014 passed an interim order directing the respondent Corporation not to disburse the wages till 01.12.2014 and consequently directed that no recoveries shall be effected till 01.12.2o14 and the said order is extended till today. However as per the version of the learned standing counsel appearing for the respondent Corporation, the respondent Corporation passed final orders on 29.11.2014, directing recovery of amounts from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union. If that is so, it is nothing but without looking or keeping in mind that there was an interim order passed by this Court against the impugned show cause notices, which is in force by the date of passing of final order. The respondent Corporation ought not to have passed any final order in violation of the order passed by this Court. The manner in which the respondent Corporation passed the final order clearly indicates its hasty attitude to recover amounts from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union.

16. This Court therefore at this stage is mainly concerned as to in whose favour the balance of convenience lies, comparative loss going to be caused to each party in the event of granting or refusing to pass an interim order.

17. If the main writ petition is decided holding that the respondent Corporation can recover the amounts from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union towards the loss occasioned on account of the strike resorted to by the members of the petitioner union for a period of 3 days, the respondent Corporation can recover the same at any time. It is not open for the respondent Corporation to contend that it has legal right to recover amounts from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union uncondition

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ally towards loss of revenue sustained by the Corporation. The proposed amounts to be recovered from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union is approximately Rs 2 crores and odd. If the amounts are recovered as contended by the respondent Corporation from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union, it is very difficult for them to get those amounts refunded in the event of an order passed against the respondent Corporation in the main writ petition. Therefore, I am of the considered opinion that the balance of convenience lies in favour of the members of the petitioner union and against the respondent Corporation, and if an interim direction is not passed directing the respondent Corporation not to recover any amounts towards loss of revenue from the salaries of the members of the petitioner union, the members of petitioner union would sustain irreparable loss. 18. For the foregoing reasons, this WPMP is allowed. The respondents are directed not to recover any amounts form the salaries of the members of the petitioner union, numbering 5061, towards alleged loss of revenue sustained by the Respondent Corporation on account of strike resorted to by the members of the petitioner union, pending disposal of the writ petition. There shall be no order as to costs.
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