(Prayer: This Writ petition is filed Under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India praying to call for the entire records from the Principal Labour Court, Hubli pertaining to Annexure-F and Annexure-G and grant the following reliefs to meetThe ends of Justice:A. Issue a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ or order or direction quashing order on issue No.1 dated:06/08/2008 in Kid No.15/2005 which is Produced and Marked as Annexure-F and also quash the award dated:27/06/2009 passed in kid No.15/2005 which is produced and marked as Annexure-G.B. Issue any other appropriate writ or order or direction directing the respondent to reinstate the petitioner into service with Full Back Wages, continuity of service and all other consequential benefits etc.)1. The petitioner is before this Court seeking for a certiorari quashing the order on issue no.1 dated 06.08.2010 in KID No.15/2005 (Annexure-F) and to quash the award dated 27.06.2009 in KID No.15/2005 (Annexure-G) as also a mandamus to reinstate the petitioner into service with full back wages and continuity of service and other consequential benefits.2. The short facts of the matter are that:2.1 The petitioner was appointed as a conductor in the respondent-Corporation in the year 1980 and subsequently confirmed. 2.2 The petitioner was dismissed from service on 23.12.2004 after holding disciplinary proceedings by issuing a charge sheet on 22.09.2003.2.3 In the charge sheet it had been alleged that on 30.08.2003, when the petitioner was working as a conductor, a vehicle was checked and it was found that the petitioner had failed to issue tickets to four passengers and not collected the fare amount. 2.4 On receipt of the charge sheet, the petitioner submitted reply denying the charges leveled.2.5 Being not satisfied with the said denial reply submitted by the petitioner, respondent- Corporation ordered for enquiry by appointing a retired Judicial Officer as an Enquiry Officer. 2.6 It is alleged that the said enquiry was not conducted in accordance with the principles of natural justice and in violation of Regulation 23 of the KSRTC Servants (Conduct and Disciplinary) Regulations, 1971 (hereinafter referred to as 'C & D Regulations). 2.7 On the basis of the said enquiry report, petitioner was dismissed from service. 2.8 Aggrieved by the same the petitioner approached the Labour Court by filing a petition under Section 10(4-A) of the I.D. (Karnataka Amendment) Act, 1987, which was registered as KID No.15/2005.2.9 The Labour Court framed issues. The first issue was regarding whether the domestic enquiry was held as per the procedure prescribed.2.10 After hearing both the parties, the Labour Court answered issue No.1 in the affirmative. 2.11 Both the parties had not led any evidence in respect of the said issue No.1.2.12 The Labour Court rejected the petition on 27.06.2009 and passed an award.2.13 It is aggrieved by the said award that the petitioner is before this Court.3. Sri. Ravi Hegde, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner would submit that:3.1 The procedure required under Regulation 23 of C & D Regulation has not been followed, so also the principles of natural justice has been violated inasmuch as before the Enquiry Officer when the matter was posted on 20.01.2004, the petitioner was present and sought time to file his written statement. 3.2 The Enquiry Officer though permitted the petitioner to file his written statement within a week, reserved the matter for finding. The petitioner filed the written statement on 27.01.2004.3.3 However, on 29.01.2004, the Enquiry Officer without considering the same has given his finding against the petitioner. 3.4 In terms of Regulation 23 of C & D Regulations, the petitioner was required to be given an opportunity to lead his evidence post the submission of the written statement. In the present case, the Enquiry Officer has not given the said opportunity. There is therefore violation of principles of natural justice and the enquiry suffering from this infirmity, the Disciplinary Authority should have considered the same so also without considering this issue, the Labour Court has answered issue No.1 relating to the validity of the procedure followed by the Enquiry Officer in the affirmative, which could not have been so done and as such, he submits that the said orders are required to be quashed by issuance of certiorari and the petitioner be directed to be reinstated with full back wages.4. Per contra, Sri. Shivakumar S. Badawadagi, learned counsel for the respondent-Corporation submits that;4.1 The petitioner was always absent in the proceedings and did not participate in the proceedings in a proper and required manner.4.2 On 09.12.2013, when the matter was listed before the Enquiry Officer, the petitioner was present and in his presence his plea was recorded and adjourned to 16.12.2003. 4.3 On 16.12.2003, the petitioner was absent.The deposition of the reporter was recorded as MW1 and documents at M1 to M5 were marked. Since the petitioner was absent, the Enquiry Officer directed forwardal of the deposition and copies of the documents marked to the petitioner and adjourned the matter to 30.12.2003.4.4 On 30.12.2003 also the petitioner was absent. 4.5 Despite service of the deposition of the reporter and the documents, one more chance was given to the petitioner to file his defence statement.4.6 The petitioner though was not present at the appropriate time, appeared before the Enquiry Officer at 2.30 pm on the same day and sought for time to file his defence statement. Hence the matter was adjourned to 13.01.2004.4.7 On 13.01.2004, due to expiry of the then Chief Minister, the matter was adjourned to 20.01.2004.4.8 On 20.01.2004, the petitioner though present, again requested for time and it is with an intention of giving one more opportunity that the Enquiry Officer permitted the petitioner to file his defence statement and reserved the matter for finding, since the petitioner did not seek permission to lead evidence. 4.9 Sri. Badawadgi would submit that the entire sequence of the events indicates that the petitioner has not been diligent in the matter. His conduct is completely lackadaisical. He has chosen not to cross-examine the witness and even the written statement was filed belatedly.4.10 The enquiry proceedings being summary proceedings, the Enquiry Officer was right in reserving the matter for finding and rendering his finding on the basis of the evidence on record.4.11 Thus, he submits that the writ petition has to be dismissed.5. Heard Sri. Ravi Hegde, learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri. Shivakumar S. Badawadgi, learned counsel for the respondent-Corporation. Perused the records.6. Though various arguments have been advanced in the matter as detailed above, the short question which arises is whether the procedure required to be followed in terms of Regulation 23 of C & D Regulations has been followed by the Enquiry Officer or not?7. The factum of whether the petitioner examined the reporter or not is of no relevance insofar as the present matter is concerned. The only date of relevance is 20.01.2004, when the Enquiry Officer granted time to the petitioner to file his written statement, but however, reserved the matter to render his finding. The question is whether this procedure followed by the Enquiry Officer is proper and correct.8. In terms of Regulation 23 of the C & D Regulations and more particularly sub-regulations 16, 17 and 18, once a delinquent officer like the petitioner were to submit his written statement, the matter is required to be posted for recordal of evidence of the delinquent officer like the petitioner, if he so prefers. This opportunity has no
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t been provided by the Enquiry Officer and though the defence statement is on record, the finding has been rendered without affording the opportunity, which apart from violation of the above Regulation, is also violation of principles of natural justice.9. In view of the above, I am of the opinion that the Enquiry has not been conducted in proper and required manner and adequate opportunity has not been provided to the delinquent officer like the petitioner.10. Hence the writ petition is allowed. The finding on issue No.1 by the Labour Court dated 06.08.2008 in KID No.15/2005 is set aside. The award passed by the Labour Court dated 27.06.2009 is also set aside. The matter is remanded to the Labour Court to consider all other aspects on merits.Both the parties shall appear before the Labour Court on 10.11.2020 without requirement of any further notice.