Decided on September 24,1971



- (1.) The petitioner-company manufactures asbestos sheets and other products and has private carrier vehicles and cars for the purpose of its business which are driven by drivers employed for the purpose. The 2nd respondent is one such driver who joined the service of the company in 1950 and has been driving the vehicles of the company since then. The company received information that an accent had occurred on 18th July. 1965 to a lorry which was driven by he 2nd Respondent The management also received information that at that time the 2nd respondent was in a drunken condition and was also not on duty but he is said to have pushed away the driver under whose custody the vehicle was. This accident happened on a public road resulting in the death of a person and also causing damage to the lorry The police charge-sheeted the 2nd respondent The case was filed before the Vth City Magistrate, Secunderabad.
(2.) The Magistrate convicted him under Sections 307-A and 377 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment of our months. On appel by the 2nd respondent, the District and Sessions Judge confirmed the conviction and sentence and dimissed the appeal On revision, the High Court acqmtted the 2nd respondent holding that on the evidence on record would be unsafe to confirm the conviction and sentence. The management in view of the conviction of the 2nd respondent by the Magistrate and dismissal of his appeal by the District and Sessions Judge, terminated his services by an order dated 10th February, 1967 with effect from 27th August, 1965 when he had been placed under suspension pending enquiry. Subsequant to the acquittal by the High Court, the 2nd respondent claimed re-instatement contending that he had been acquitted by the High Court and is entitled for the same. The case of the 2nd respondent was not taken up by the Hyderabad Asbestos Cement Products Workers' Union, but it seems he independently approached the Labour Department and the State Government referred the matter for adjudication to the Labour Court under Section 10 (1) (c) of the Industrial Disputes Act. The petitioner submits that the reference so made is illegal as the dispute referred to is an individual dispute and not an industrial dispute. Before the Labour Court, the management filed certified copies of the entire evidence let in before the Magistrate regarding the accident It also filed a certified copy of the order of the Munsif- Magistrate, Zaheerabad dated 4th March, 1964 regarding the accident that took place on 30th November, 1963 in which the 2nd respondent was convicted for an offence under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code. Even in that earlier accident, one person died and certain others received injuries. The judgment was filed before the Labour Court to prove that due to the two accidents, the management had lost confidence in the 2nd respondent. The question referred to the Labour Court was whether the dismissal of Sri Mohin Ali by the employers of Hyderabad Asbestos Cement Products Ltd., Hyderabad is justified. This reference was answered by the Labour Court in that negative holding that the dismissal of the 2nd respondent was not justified. The Labour Court directed the management to reinstate the 2nd respondent in service with back wages from 11th August, 1965 the date of his suspension, till the date of reinstatement. This award of the Labour Court, was, under Section 17 of the Industrial Disputes Act, published by the Government in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette dated 16th April, 1970. The petitioner-company in this Writ Petition seeks to set aside the aforesaid award and to quash the same.
(3.) The first contention raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the Labour Court should have taken into consideration the documentary evidence led before it and come to the conclu.sion whether the dismissal of the 2nd respondent-employee is justified. The Labour Court has considered that evidence only to determine whether the High Court while acquitting the 2nd respondent gave him the benefit oi doubt. The Labour Court erred in holding that once the High Court had acquitted the 2nd respondent he cannot be dismissed on the same facts and evidence. The 2nd contention is that the Labour Court erred in holding that the order of dismissal is bad as it has been made with retrospective effect, In a case like this, the Labour Court should have held that the order is valid from the date it was made. The third contention is that the Labour Court erred in granting back wages to the 2nd respondent from the date of his suspension. It also erred in not considering the question whether the petitioner-company had "lost confidence in the 2nd respondent and was therefore justified in terminating his service, It is urged that in a case like this, the Labour Court should not have ordered reinstatement, but at the most should have granted compensation to the 2nd respondent. It was not argued before me that the reference to the Labour Court is invalid.;

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