NISHITH RANJAN MALLICK Vs. DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER (OFF-SHORE), OIL INDIA LIMITED
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
Nishith Ranjan Mallick
Deputy General Manager (Off-Shore), Oil India Limited
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(1.) The petitioner in this writ petition seeks to assail the notice of dismissal published in Odiya Daily Newspaper "The Sambad" dated 16.06.2004 (Annexure-6) and further prays for a direction for extending all consequential financial and service benefits in his favour retrospectively. Before delving into the facts and contentions of the parties, it is profitable to reproduce the notice of dismissal published in Odiya Daily Newspaper "The Sambad" under Annexure-6.
(2.) It is revealed from the averments made in the writ petition that the petitioner was a Workman under the Oil India Limited, Camp. Bay Exploration Project, Bhubaneswar (for short "the Management') and was the President of Trade Union, namely, Mahanadi Petroleum Exploration Employees' Union since 1995. On 08.02.1999, the authorities of Oil India Limited proposed to close down the Exploration Project in Odisha and accordingly, an application was made to the Central Government (Ministry of Labour) for the said purpose. The petitioner being the President of Workers' Union protested such proposal and consequently, the proposal for closure of the Project was turned down by the appropriate Government. Due to such protest of the petitioner to the proposal of closure, the Management bore grudge on the petitioner. As a result, charges under different heads were framed against the petitioner on 08.11.2000. On the very next day, another set of charges were also framed against the petitioner. Immediately thereafter the petitioner vide notice dated 01.12.2000 was intimated to attend the enquiry on 21.12.2000 indicating therein that the petitioner did not submit any reply to the charges. One G.C. Saikia, Deputy Chief Engineer (Transport) was appointed as Enquiring Officer. In reply to the notice dated 01.12.2000, the petitioner wrote a letter to the Management on 21.12.2000 stating that he had not received any show cause notice. Thus, he was not in a position to give any reply. Moreover, the petitioner requested to provide a copy of the show cause notice and other relevant documents to enable him to file show cause reply and prayed for an adjournment of the enquiry for six weeks. The petitioner also filed a memo to that effect before the Enquiring Officer on the date of his appearance i.e. on 21.12.2000. However, he was intimated that since the Deputy General Manager (Off-Shore), Oil India Limited, Bhubaneswar had issued the notice to show cause, he should approach him (the Deputy General Manager) for the same. Subsequently, on 27.02.2001, the petitioner was supplied with a list of documents and a list of the witnesses, which included some of the documents sought for by him. So far as the rest of the documents were concerned, he was intimated that those documents were not relevant for the purpose of enquiry. Accordingly, the petitioner was asked by the Enquiring Officer to explain the relevancy of such documents. On receipt of the reply with regard to relevancy of the documents, the Enquiring Officer vide his order dated 19.04.2001 directed the Management representative to produce those documents. On that date, the petitioner also submitted a copy of list of the witnesses on his behalf.
(3.) The petitioner also alleged non-cooperation of the Management witnesses at the time of cross-examination, which was allegedly not taken into consideration by the Enquiring Officer. However, the enquiry was posted to 13.12.2001 on which date the petitioner instead of appearing in person before the Enquiring Officer, wrote a letter for adjournment of the enquiry for ten days on the ground of his ill health enclosing a copy of the prescription from his physician. The petitioner also on that date submitted a representation disputing the applicability of the modified standing order stating it to be applicable only to North Eastern Region and not to Odisha. However, the representation of the petitioner was rejected on 08.01.2002 holding that the modified standing order is applicable to the Odisha Region. The enquiry was subsequently posted to 18.01.2002 on which date the petitioner could not appear and requested for seven days time due to his illness along with medical certificate of the physician of the Management. However, the Enquiring Officer allowed adjournment only for two days and posted the enquiry to 21.01.2002 on which date due to non-appearance of the petitioner, the enquiry was closed and the enquiry report was submitted to the Disciplinary Authority on 19.04.2002. On 06.05.2002, the Disciplinary Authority issued a notice to the petitioner to submit his explanation against the findings of the enquiry report. However, on 22.08.2002, the order of dismissal was passed against the petitioner.
It is pertinent to state that at the relevant time, a proceeding in Tr. I.D. Case No. 265 of 2001 was pending before the Central Government Industrial Tribunal (for short "CGIT'). Thus, the Management thought it proper to file a petition under Section 33(3) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (for short "the I.D. Act') for grant of permission to give effect to the order of dismissal. The said petition was registered as I.D. Misc. Case No. 42 of 2002. However, the petitioner was placed under suspension till then. Be it stated here that the petitioner although took a stand that he was a Protected Workman and his conditions of service cannot be changed during pendency of the I.D. case relating to the self-same project of the Management before the CGIT, but the Management ignoring the same put him under suspension pending finalization of the petition under Section 33(3) of the I.D. Act. But subsequently the Management filed a petition for withdrawal of the said petition (I.D. Misc. Case No. 42 of 2002) on the ground that the petitioner is not a Protected Workman and Tr. I.D. Case No. 265 of 2001 does not relate to any of the service conditions involving the petitioner. The petitioner filed a detailed objection to the same. Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, the Presiding Officer, CGIT vide his order dated 17.03.2003 (Annexure-5) allowed the said misc. case to be withdrawn. Consequently, the order of dismissal was passed. However, the said order was never communicated to the petitioner. The petitioner came to know about the order of dismissal only from the paper publication as at Annexure-6 for which he has filed this writ petition for the aforesaid relief.;
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