Decided on March 12,1970



- (1.) THE petitioner was employed in the firm of the 2nd respondent for a number of years. Though he says he has been in service from 1939, the Labour Court has found that, he has been in service from 1951, and I do not think that that finding can be assailed. But what happened in this case was that, according to the petitioner, he had some illness on 19. 11. 1965 and could not proceed to the shop. He applied for leave and got treated with local medicines and thereafter admitted himself as an in-patient into the Government Hospital, Kanchipuram on 22. 11. 1965 and remained there till 25. 11. 1965. He says that after he was discharged he was undergoing treatment at home under the doctor's instructions till 1. 12. 1965. He says further that he repotted for duty on 2. 12. 1965 and worked as usual till 3. 12. 1965 and that at about 7. 30 P. M. on that day his services were terminated. He appealed to the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation under Section 41 (2) of the Madras Shops and Establishments Act. He later withdrew it because the industrial dispute between him and the 2nd respondent was referred to the Labour Court, Madras. The issue referred to the Labour Court was: Whether the non-employment of P. Balakrishnan is justified; if not, to what relief he is entitled? To compute the relief, if any, awarded in terms of money, if it can be so computed. The Labour Court has held that it was the petitioner that had left the 2nd respondent's service and that the 2nd respondent did not terminate his service. This writ petition is filed to quash the order of the Labour Court.
(2.) THE Labour Court has referred to the evidence of the petitioner about the various occasions on which he applied for leave and how it U confused. In so far as this part of the discussion in the Labour Court's order is concerned, it is certainly justified. But the Labour Court has committed a mistake in saying that the petitioner did not summon the salary register and day book. In fact the salary register was before the Labour Court, as appears from the order itself. In addition there were three other pieces of evidence before it, by way of answers in cross-examination given by M. W. 2, a partner of the 2nd respondent firm. He has stated that the petitioner issued three receipts for rent on behalf of the 2nd respondent to the Kamakshi Amman Co-operative Society on 2. 12. 1965. He has also stated that the petitioner wrote out 2 cash bills in the shop on 3. 12. 1965 and that he would not be able to say what all books he wrote on that day.
(3.) IN Ex. W. 6 sent by the 2nd respondent in the proceedings under Section 41 (2) before the Commissioner for Workman's Compensation, the 2nd respondent had not stated that the petitioner left the service of his own accord. They said so only in the additional counter Ex. M-6. If the Labour Court had taken this evidence into consideration and still come to the conclusion that the petitioner had left the 2nd respondent's service of his own accord, this Court may not be able to interfere with that finding of fact. The question therefore is whether a finding arrived at without considering the relevant pieces of evidence can be said to disclose an error apparent on the face of the record. It is well established that the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in a case where a Tribunal has acted within its apparent on the face of the record. Leaving aside for the moment cases of interpretation of the statutory provisions which may normally give rise to no difficulty, the question we are concerned with in this case is whether a finding of fact arrived at without taking into consideration the relevant piece of evidence can be said to disclose an error apparent on the face of the record. The petitioner relies upon the decision in Crompton Parkinson (Works) Private Limited v. Their Workmen 17 Factories Journal Reports 121 where at page 129 the Supreme Court has observed that a conclusion drawn by the Tribunal without adverting to the evidence before it amounts to an error of law and cannot possibly be sustained. But in that case their Lordships of the Supreme Court were not concerned with the scope of Article 226 of the Constitution of India. That was a case on an appeal with special leave against a decision of the Labour Appellate Tribunal. That statement of law might not be quite appropriate to the circumstances of this case. The petitioner then relies upon State of Andhra Pradesh v. Sree Rama Rao. What their Lordships have stated there is that the High Court may undoubtedly interfere where the conclusion on the very face of it is so wholly arbitrary and capricious that no reasonable person could ever have arrived at that conclusion or on similar grounds. They have also stated that if there be some legal evidence on which the findings of the departmental authorities, who are the sole Judges, can be based, the adequacy or reliability of that evidence is not a matter which can be permitted to be canvassed before the High Court in a proceeding for a writ under Article 226 of the Constitution. Here again this decision is not of any help in the present cue, because we are concerned not with the absence of legal evidence to support the findings as there is certainly some evidence which can support the findings, but with the fact that the Tribunal has not adverted to certain pieces of evidence which would have a great relevancy to the decision of the question.;

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