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United Engineering Enterprises v/s State of Haryana


Company & Directors' Information:- G B ENGINEERING ENTERPRISES PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Liquidation] CIN = U28991TN1987PTC014423

Company & Directors' Information:- UNITED ENGINEERING COMPANY PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U34201WB1985PTC038966

Company & Directors' Information:- UNITED ENGINEERING ENTERPRISES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U28121PB2012PTC035923

Company & Directors' Information:- K V ENGINEERING ENTERPRISES PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U31300TG1988PTC008703

Company & Directors' Information:- HARYANA ENTERPRISES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U27101DL1994PTC060057

Company & Directors' Information:- UNITED ENTERPRISES PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51900WB1947PTC015793

Company & Directors' Information:- THE UNITED ENGINEERING CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U00349KA1946PTC000438

Company & Directors' Information:- HARYANA ENGINEERING PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U93000RJ2007PTC024634

Company & Directors' Information:- UNITED ENTERPRISES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U99999MH1950PTC008075

    C.W.P. Appeal No. 522 of 1982

    Decided On, 17 November 1998

    At, High Court of Punjab and Haryana

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.S. AGGARWAL

    For the Appearing Parties: Jaskirat Singh, Advocate.



Judgment Text

V.S. AGGARWAL, J.


(1) M/s United Engineering Enterprises (hereinafter described as the Petitioner) have invoked the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India and seeks quashing of the award passed by the Presiding Officer, Industrial Disputes Tribunal, Haryana, Faridabad.


(2) THE relevant facts are that respondent-workman Ram Avtar had joined the petitioner management on July 1, 1974 at a salary of Rs. 335/- per month as a Turner; he was the President of the Union of the petitioner management; there was a settlement between the parties on May 7, 1979; the Management was not implementing the same; the respondent-workman had made a complaint on September 10, 1979 for non-implementation of the same. On January 11, 1979, the workman contended that Karamjeet Singh and Surender Singh gave beating to him the petitioner-management was also with them his services were terminated on September 10, 1979 without any inquiry or charge-sheet.


(3) A reference was made under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act. The petitioner's claim was that the services of the respondent were discharged; the allegations against the workman was that he was in the habit of making false and defamatory complaints to different authorities; his behaviour in the factory was also the same, he disobeyed the orders of his superiors; he propagated for less production in the factory; he was mischievous and used to mislead the workmen; he used to stop the workmen from working. On January 1, 1979, one of the electricians Surender Singh was mis-handled; the scene was created in the factory; the activities of the workman became unwanted, uncontrollable and unmanageable. In this situation, it was difficult to charge-sheet the workman and to hold an inquiry. No person was coming forward to make a statement against him. Thereupon, the Management terminated the services of the respondent-workman.


(4) ISSUE were framed and the learned Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Faridabad recorded the evidence and, thereafter concluded that the petitioner-Management could charge-sheet the workman without difficulty and hold a domestic inquiry; services were terminated illegally, without inquiry or charge-sheet. Accordingly, it was held that since order terminating the services is unjustified, therefore, the workman is entitled to his reinstatement with full back wages and other benefits of service. Aggrieved by the same, the present writ petition has been filed.


(5) WHEN the petition was listed, none appeared for the respondent and in these circumstances, this Court did not have the advantage to hear the respondent's learned counsel.


(6) LEARNED counsel for the petitioner urged that the learned Labour Court went wrong in not allowing the petitioner to prove that the action of the petitioner was valid and, therefore, the order passed cannot be sustained. He relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Workmen of the Motipur Sugar Factory Private Ltd. v. The Motipur Sugar Factory Private Ltd. , (1965-II-LLJ-162) (SC). While considering a similar situation, the Supreme Court held that the Tribunal can decide whether the discharge of the workman was justified or not, he can investigate the grounds and come to a conclusion. In paragraph 5 the findings were :


"we have already set out the relevant term of reference and it will be seen that it is wide and general in terms and asks the tribunal to decide whether the discharge of the workmen concerned was justified or not. It does not mention the grounds on which the discharge was based and it is for the tribunal to investigate the grounds and decide whether those grounds justify discharge or not. So if the tribunal finds that the discharge was due to the use of go slow tactics by the workmen concerned it will be entitled to investigate the question whether the use of go-slow tactics by the workmen had been proved or not. "


(7) SIMILARLY in the decision rendered in the case of Bharat Forge Company Limited v. A. B. Zodge and Anr. , (1996-II-LLJ-643) (SC) the Supreme Court while referring to Section 11-A of the Industrial Disputes Act held that a domestic enquiry may be vitiated either for non-compliance of the rules or for perversity. The employer had a right to adduce evidence before the Labour Court to justify disciplinary action. The Supreme Court in paragraph 7 has concluded :


"a domestic enquiry may be vitiated either for non-compliance of rules of natural justice or for perversity. Disciplinary action taken on the basis of a vitiated enquiry does not stand on a better footing than a disciplinary action with no enquiry. The right of the employer to adduce evidence in both the situations is well-recognised. In this connection, reference may be made to the decisions of this Court in Workmen of Motipur Sugar Factory (P) Ltd. , v. Motipur Sugar Factory (P) Ltd. , 1965-II-LLJ-162) (SC), State Bank of India v. R. K Jain, (1972-I-LLJ-180) (SC), Delhi Cloth General Mill C. Ltd. , v. Ludh Budh Singh, (1972-I-LLJ-180) (SC) and Firestone Tyre Co. s case (supra). The stage at which the employer should ask for permission to adduce additional evidence to justify the disciplinary action on: merits was indicated by this Court in Delhi Cloth and General Mill's case (supra). In Sankar Chakrabarty's case (supra), the contention that in every case of disciplinary action coming before the Tribunal, the Tribunal as a matter of law must frame preliminary issue and proceed to see the validity or otherwise of the enquiry and then serve a fresh notice on the employer by calling him to adduce further evidence to sustain the charges. If the employer chooses to do so, by relying on the decision of this Court in the case of Cooper Engineering Ltd. , (1975-II-LLJ-379) (SC), has not been accepted. The view expressed in Delhi Cloth Mill's case (supra) that before the proceedings are closed, an opportunity to adduce evidence would be given if a suitable request for such opportunity is made by the employer to the Tribunal, has been reiterated in Sankar Chakrabarty's case after observing that on the question as to the stage as to when leave to adduce further evidence is to be sought for, the decision of this Court in Cooper Engineering Ltd. , has not overruled the decision of this Court in Delhi Cloth Mill's case. There is no dispute in the present case that before the closure of the proceedings before the Tribunal, prayer was made by the employer to lead evidence in support of the impugned order of dismissal. Hence, denial of the opportunity to the employer to lead evidence before the Tribunal in support of the order of dismissal cannot be justified. "


(8) SIMILAR was the view expressed in the case The United Planters Association of Southern India v. K. G. Sangameswaran and Anr. , (1997-I-LLJ-1104) (SC). The findings arrived at by the Supreme Court at P 1109 are:


"in view of the provisions contained in Section 11-A, a question arose in The Workmen of Firestone Tyre and Rubber Co. of India Pvt. Ltd. , v. The Management and Ors. , (1973-ILLJ- 278) (SC), as to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to take evidence to decide the merit of the charges and it was laid down that in spite of the prohibition contained in the proviso to Section 11-A the Tribunal, in order to satisfy itself as to the guilt of the person charged, had the jurisdiction to take the evidence and that the law in that regard had not undergone any change. It was pointed out that if the domestic enquiry had been held by the employer, the Tribunal will examine the merits of that enquiry and would confine itself to the evidence already on record. But where the enquiry was defective, the Tribunal could still take fresh evidence to decide the merits of the charge. "


(9) THERE is no controversy with this view point and the law laid by the Supreme Court, but the position herein is different. It is not being disputed that no enquiry or proceedings were held; services of the respondent-workman were terminated. The ground taken up by the petitioner was that keeping in view the situation it was not possible to hold the enquiry. The same had been considered by the learned Labour Court. It was recorded that enquiry could not be held. Once such is the situation, the petitioner cannot make a grievance of the fact that further facts had to be proved.


(10) AN attempt to assail the order of the Labour Court in this regard must fail. Normall

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y, this Court will not interfere in the findings of the Labour Court, unless the same are perverse and totally contrary to the material on record. That is not so in the present case. Therefore, the learned Labour Court was right in holding that the order terminating the services of the respondent-workman without any enquiry or proceedings is vitiated. There is no ground to interfere in this regard. (11) HOWEVER, it must be remembered that almost 20 years have elapsed when the order in question had been passed. At this stage, it will not be proper to direct reinstatement of the respondent-workman. When his services were terminated, he was drawing a salary of Rs. 465/-per month. In these circumstances, compensation of Rs. 15,000/- must be held to be adequate. Accordingly, an order is made that the respondent-workman would be paid a compensation of Rs. 15,000/ -. (12) THE writ petition is disposed of in the above terms.
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