Decided on August 08,1963



- (1.) THE facts giving rise to this petition are as follows. The petitioner-company are employers and carry on business of textile manufacturing. Respondent 2 was working with the petitioner in the bleaching department. An incident is alleged to have taken place in the department on 19 December, 1959, and it was alleged by the management that in the course of that incident respondent 2 had assaulted his superior officer, namely, jobber Ramsahay Isar, during working hour on that day and by this assault he had committed a breach of discipline by his behavior. On 21 December, 1959. respondent 2 was given a preliminary suspension order and a show cause notice and a charge sheet were also served upon him. Respondent 2 gave his written statement in response to the show cause notice and this explanation was given on 29 December, 1959. The explanation of respondent 2 was that one Bajrang, who was also working in the same department, was quarreling with the jobber Ramsahay and that Bajrang had given a toothbite on the back of Ramsahay and respondent 2 separated Ramsahay and Bajrang and had used some force in the process and he did not know if jobber Ramsahay had receive injuries on the head. It was the case of respondent 2 in the explanation that the jobber might have received injuries by reason of a push given by respondent 2 for the purpose of separating Ramsahay from Bajrang. Thereafter an inquiry was held by the management under the standing orders and the inquiry was actually held on 22 and 23 December, 1959. In the course of the inquiry the management recorded the statements of jobber Ramsahay and several other persons including Bajrang. Respondent 2 was given an opportunity to cross-examine all of these witness but he refused to put any questions to any one of them. Thereafter the statement of respondent 2 was recorded in the inquiry and he also examined one witness, a worker called Naran Chhotu, in support of his contention. After the evidence was completed, a further opportunity was given to respondent 2 of examining any more witnesses and to cross-examine any of the witnesses if he desired, but he declined this offer. After the inquiry, the management terminated the services of respondent 2 by serving him with an order of discharge on 31 December, 1959, because, as the order stated, the management found that it was not desirable to keep respondent 2 in the service of the petitioner-mills. Respondent 2 refused to the accept the discharge order and, therefore, the order was sent to the Textile Labour Association, which was a representative union of the textile workers in Ahmedabad. Thereafter respondent 2 filed an application under S. 79 of the Bombay Industrial Relations Act in the labour court, Ahmedabad, for a declaration that the order of discharge passed against him was illegal and improper and asking for reinstatement with full back wages. In the labour court the petitioner-mills filed a written statement but respondent 2 did not lead any evidence before the labour court and submitted the case for decision on the basis of the papers of inquiry held by the management. The third labour court at Ahmedabad decided the application holding that the inquiry officer was justified in coming to the conclusion that the applicant had committed a misconduct alleged against him and upheld the discharge order.
(2.) THEREAFTER respondent 2 filed an appeal to the industrial court against the decision of the labour court. The appeal was heard by the original respondent 1 in these proceedings and by an order dated 27 January 1961, the industrial court allowed the appeal of respondent 2 and directed the petitioner to reinstate respondent 2 with full back-wages. Thereafter the petitioner-mills have come to this Court under Art. 227 of the Constitution challenging the order of the industrial court.
(3.) THE main ground on which Sri Nanavati challenged the order of the industrial court was that the powers conferred by the Bombay Industrial Relations Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) are those of a court of revision and the labour court and the industrial court are only entitled to consider the propriety or legality of the order passed by the management and it is not open to the Courts functioning under the Act in proceedings of the type with which we are dealing in the instant case, to sit as a Court of appeal and to appreciate the evidence or to find out whether on the evidence before it, the management's order was a correct order or not.;

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