Decided on March 23,2007

PRATAP SINGH Respondents


KAILASH GAMBHIR, J. - (1.) Rule. With the consent of counsel for the parties the matter is set for final hearing.
(2.) The petitioner is aggrieved with the impugned award on the premise that the Labour Court has placed undue weightage on non-supply of some documents to the workman and non production of ticketless passengers during the course of the enquiry proceedings. The contention of counsel for the petitioner is that the charged employee who was a conductor at the relevant time had misconducted himself by indulging into an act of corruption in not issuing the tickets in as much as to 12 passengers and such serious misconduct should have weighed with the Labour Court while deciding the reference. Another contention which has been raised by the counsel for the petitioner is that the enquiry proceedings are not governed by strict rules of Evidence Act and it is only total lack of evidence but not sufficiency of evidence could be a ground for interference by the Labour Court in the findings of the enquiry officer. Counsel for the petitioner further submitted that it is not merely non-supply of the documents to the workman but coupled with prejudice being caused to the rights of the workman in absence of such documents, can only result into violation of principles of natural justice. In support of his arguments counsel for the petitioner has relied upon the judgment in the case of Divisional Controller, KSRTC (NWKRTC) v. A.T. Mane reported at JT 2004 (8) SC 103 in Para 9 of this judgment the Hon'ble Supreme Court after placing reliance on its another judgment in the case of State of Haryana and Anr. v. Rattan Singh reported in (1977) 2 SCC 491 has held as under:- "This Court in the case of State of Haryana and Anr. v. Rattan Singh which is also a case arising out of non-issuance of ticket by a conductor held thus:- "In a domestic inquiry all the strict and sophisticated rules of Evidence Act may not apply. All materials which are logically probative for a prudent mind are permissible, though departmental authorities and Administrative Tribunals must be careful in evaluating such material and should not glibly swallow what is strictly speaking not relevant under the Evidence Act. The essence of judicial approach is objectivity, exclusion of extraneous materials or considerations, and observance of rules of natural justice. Fair play is the basis and if perversity or arbitrariness, bias or surrender of independence of judgment, vitiate the conclusion reached, such a finding, even of a domestic tribunal, cannot be held to be good. The simple point in all these cases is, was there some evidence or was there no evidence " not in the sense of the technical rules governing court proceedings but in a fair commonsense way as men of understanding and worldly wisdom will accept. Sufficiency of evidence in proof of the finding by a domestic tribunal is beyond scrutiny by court, while absence of any evidence in support of the finding is an error of law apparent on the record and the court can interfere with the finding."
(3.) "In the present case, evidence of the inspector is some evidence which has relevance to the charge and the courts below had misdirected themselves in insisting on the evidence of ticketless passengers. Also merely because the statements were not recorded, the order for termination cannot be invalid in fact, the inspector tried to get their statements but the passengers declined. Further, it was not for the court but the tribunal to assess the evidence of the conductor.";

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