(1.) In this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution the petitioner who is the Director Operations, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, Hyderabad (hereinafter referred to as R.T.C.), seeks the issue of a writ of certiorari quashing the orders of the Industrial Tribunal. Andhra Pradesh in M.P. No. 128 of 1970 in I.D. No.37 of 1969 on its file relating to the dismissal from service of the 2nd respondent.
(2.) The 2nd respondent who was employed as a driver in R.T.C. was attached to the Hyderabad District Depot No. II in Gowliguda while driving the bus bearing Registration No. APZ 3804 on 11th June, 1969, he knocked down one Yellamma on the road between Jagdevpur and Bhongir, resulting in her instantaneous death and on a charge sheet filed by the Police under section 304-A, Indian Penal Code and section 3 (1) read with section 112 of the Motor Vehicles Act, the case was taken on file as C.C.No. 240 of 1968 by the District Munsiff-cum-I Class Magistrate, Bhongir and this ended in the conviction of the accused of the offence under section 304-A, Indian Penal Code and the imposition of a fine of Rs. 40 or in default to undergo simple imprisonment for forty days. On account of the above conduct that had resulted in the conviction, the 2nd respondent was removed from service in pursuance of Regulation 9(2) (a) read with Regulation 13 of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation Employees (Classification, Control and Appeal) Regulations of 1967 (hereinafter referred to as the C.C.A. Regulations). By then an industrial dispute between the Road Transport Corporation employees and the management was pending. As the 2nd respondent was also a workman concerned in the said dispute an application under section 33 92) (b) of the Industrial Disputes Act had to be filed before the Industrial Tribunal for approving the action taken against the 2nd respondent, but this petition was dismissed, the Tribunal holding that the operative portion of the order passed by the punishing authority merely mentions that the order of removal is passed in view of the conduct that led to conviction that no other circumstances appear to have been taken into consideration that the distinction between dismissing for this conduct and dismissing for his conviction had not been scrupulously observed and as the order is based on conviction only, the principles of natural justice have been violated and refused approval. Hence this petition.
(3.) The 2nd respondent an employee of the Road Transport Corporation is governed by the provisions of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation C.C.A. Regulations of 1967. Under Regulation No.9 of these Regulations an employee is liable to be dismissed from service on a conviction by a Court on a Criminal charge. Regulation No.13 of these Regulations reads as follows:-
"Notwithstanding anything in Regulation 12-
(i) Where a penalty is imposed on an employee on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge; or
(ii) the disciplinary authority may consider the circumstances of the case and pass such orders thereon as it deems fit." It may be noticed that Regulation No.13 (i) is on the same terms as the proviso (a) to Article 311 of the Constitution. It has therefore to be seen whether the authorities who have removed the 2nd respondent from service, have acted in accordance with these Regulations. The order resulting in the removal of the 2nd respondent reads as follows:-
"....On 11th June,1968, at about 11.30 A.M. bus No. APZ3804 driven by Sri Shareef Dad Khan, E.29120 of Hyderabad District Depot No.11 on its way from Jagadevapur to Bhongir, was involved in a fatal accident at Mile stone No. 11/2 near Turkapalli when a pedestrian by name Smt. Yellamma, wife of Sri Eashwaraiah, aged 30 years while proceeding on the right side of the road was knocked down by the bus, resulting in injuries due to which she died instantaneously on the spot.
(2) The Police charge sheeted the driver and the First Class Magistrate Bhongir, convicted the driver. Sri Shareef Dad Khan E.29120 under section 304-A, Indian Penal Code and section 3 (1) read with section 112 of Motor Vehicles Act, and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs. 40.00 and in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 40 days and on the second count a fine of Rs. 10.00 and in default to undergo simple imprisonment for one week.
(3) In view of the conduct that led to convictional order that Sri Shareef Dad Khan, E.29120, driver be removed from service under Regulation 9(2) (a) read with Regulation 13 of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation Employees C.C.A. Regulations,1967.
(4) An appeal against this order lies with the General manager within a period of two months from the date of receipt of this order." What is contended and had been upheld by the Tribunal is that what has been taken into consideration is only the conviction of the 2nd respondent and not his conduct. In Satyanarayana v. L.I. Corporation, (1969) 2 An.WR 506 : AIR 1969 AP 371 a Bench of this Court, of which I was one, had held that the order of the Zonal Manager, L.I.C. of India, dismissing the petitioner therein, who was a Development Officer working in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam Districts against whom a charge sheet has been filed for alleged misappropriation of L.I.C. insurance moneys and the IV City Magistrate, Hyderabad, had found him guilty of the same and convicted him in S.P.E. Case No.5 of 1965, showed that he was being dismissed from service in terms of Regulation 59 (4) (i) read with Regulation 39 (1) (g) of the Staff Regulations, 1960, with immediate effect on account of the conviction and not on taking into consideration his conduct that led to the conviction. In Director of Postal Services v. Daya Nand, (1972) SLR 325, a Full Bench of the Delhi High Court came to consider the above decision among others in relation to Article 311 and Proviso (a) of the Constitution. The order of dismissal in the case, they were concerned with, first merely stated the facts of the case that had resulted in the conviction for the offence under section 52, Indian Penal code and then stated that since the offence under section 52, Indian Penal Code, has been held to be proved against the official by a court of law, the Officer who was under suspension was being dismissed from service with immediate effect. There they pointed out that the reference to conviction necessarily implies reference to the conduct which was the subject matter of the charge which was proved resulting in the conviction. They querried "Can the punishing authority regard the conduct forming the criminal charge as not proved? Can it take a different view of the offence and come to the conclusion that the accused was not guilty? and went on to say that whenever a Government servant it convicted of a criminal offence (unless the charge is a trivial one) the punishment of dismissal would be as a matter of course and when the impugned order refers to conviction and the authority was aware of the bad side of the conduct which led to the conviction and also the extenuating circumstances and it cannot therefore be said that the punishing authority did not apply its mind to the conduct leading to the conviction. They therefore, held that the dismissal cannot be challenged on the ground that it was not based on the conduct of the official dismissed. Being of that view, they had differed from the view of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in Satyanarayana v. L.I. Corporation, cited above, and pointed out that in the circumstances of that case also it could, not be inferred that the punishing authority passed the order on the basis of the conviction only and not on the basis of the conduct leading to the conviction of the official.;