HINDUSTHAN STEEL LTD. Vs. 9TH INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
HINDUSTHAN STEEL LTD
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(1.) In this writ petition the subject-matter of challenge is the order of the learned 9th Industrial Tribunal rejecting the petitioner company's application under S. 33 (2) (b) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and refusing to approve the order of removal passed against the respondent No. 3, Tapan Kumar Bose.
(2.) On 25th August, 1973 the Deputy Chief Electrical Engineer (Services). Durgapur Steel Plant of Hindus;han Steel Limited, had issued a charge-sheet against the respondent No. 3, Tapan Kumar Bose, who was then serving as Assistant Boiler Operator, Boiler Operation Section of the Power Plant Department, Durgapur Steel Plant. The respondent No. 3 was charged with having committed acts of fraud and dishonesty in connection with the company's business within the meaning of clause 29 (ii) of the standing orders. It was also alleged that he had given false information regarding his age and qualification at the time of his employment (vide Clause 29 (iv) of the standing orders). The respondent No. 3 had shown cause, the Deputy Chief Electrical Engineer (Services), Durgapur Steel Plant had appointed Sri Abtar Singh, Assistant Superintendent (Operation), Section Mill as the Enquiry Committee to enquire into the allegations against the petitioner. The said one-man Enquiry Committee had submitted its report holding that both the charges against the respondent No. 3 had been proved. Thereupon, the Chief Electrical Engineer (Services) Durgapur Steel Plant had recorded, inter alia, that he had gone through the records of the enquiry, the connected papers and the findings of the Enquiry Officer. He concurred with the finding that the charges levelled against the delinquent had been sufficiently proved and his dismissal was warranted. He ordered that the respondent No. 3 be removed from service with due compliance of the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Chief Electrical Engineer (Services) of the Plant further requested the Genaral Manager to approve since he was the Appointing Authority. When the matter was put up before the General Manager he had approved the noting that the respondent No. 3 be removed from service as per standing Order No. 30 (2c) of the Standing Orders with immediate effect.
(3.) As an industrial dispute was then pending before the 9th Industrial Tribunal, Durgapur on behalf of the petitioner company and application under S. 33 (2) (b) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 was made for approval by the said Tribunal. As already stated the said Tribunal rejected the petitioner's application for approval of the dismissal of the respondent No. 3. The learned Judge, 9th Industrial Tribunal by his order dated 11th April, 1975 had directed that the case be taken up for hearing as to the propriety or otherwise of the domestic enquiry held against the respondent No. 3 and the Tribunal also directed that the petitioner company would be entitled to adduce evidence on merits if the domestic enquiry could not be sustained. The Tribunal by its subsequent Order No. 17 dated 8th May, 1975 considered the charges framed against the respondent No. 3. In its order the Tribunal recorded that it had been admitted by the delinquent workman that he was responsible for giving an incorrect statement of age but had claimed that the same was due to mistake. It is no longer disputed that at the time of his appointment the" respondent No. 3 had produced an attested copy of an admit card for the Matriculation Examination, 1950 in which the age of the candidate was stated to be 12 years 11 months on 1-3-51. But in the original admit card the age recorded was 15 years 2 months. It was also not denied by the respondent No. 3 in the said admit card the name of the candidate was given as Dabesh Chandra Bose and that he had altered the said writing and had written his name Tapan Kumar Bose. The 9th Industrial Tribunal in its order dated 8th May, 1975 recorded that the said acts of alteration of the name given in the admit card in question was an act of fraud and dishonesty on the part of the respondent No. 3. According to the Tribunal, the respondent No. 3 had given incorrect information as to his age and qualification at the time of his employment. The Tribunal, however, held that the said fraud was not committed by the respondent No. 3 in connection with his employment and the petitioner company did not suffer any loss. Therefore, the domestic Enquiry Committee's finding that the respondent No. 3 was guilty under Clause 29 (iv) of the standing orders was perverse. The Tribunal, however, held that as regards the second charga of giving false information about his age and qualification, it was not urged before it or even alleged by the workman that the Enquiry Committee's finding in respect of the second charge was perverse. The Tribunal, however, found that the acts in question amounted to misconduct as per the provisions of the standing Order No. 29. The Tribunal held that the domestic enquiry had not been properly directed by the Disciplinary Authority. The Deputy Chief Electrical Engineer, who was the Appointing Authority, had issued the charge-sheet and had appointed the Enquiry Committee. The Deputy Chief Electrical Engineer was not a head of the works and, therefore, he did not come within the definition of the expression "management" given in the standing Order No. 2 (c). The Tribunal fixed another date for considering whether the removal order had been passed by an authority lower than the Disciplinary Authority of the respondent No. 3. The 9th Industrial Tribunal by its subsequent order dated 30th June, 1975 held that the Deputy Chief Electrical Engineer (Services) had no authority either to issue the charge- sheet Or to appoint the one-man Enquiry Committee. The General Manager was the Appointing Authority and the Chief Electrical Engineer (Services) had no authority to pass the order removing the respondent No. 3 and in view of the stand taken by the petitioner company, it cannot be urged that the General Manager had approved the said removal order and, therefore, the General Manager deemed to have passed the said order. According to the Tribunal, the order of removal had not been passed in accordance with the standing orders and, therefore, the petition under S. 33 (2) (b) of the Industrial Disputes Act must fail.;
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