THE MANAGEMENT OF HATTIALI T.E. Vs. THE PRESIDING OFFICER, LABOUR COURT, DIBRUGARH AND ANOTHER
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
MANAGEMENT OF HATTIALI T E
PRESIDING OFFICER, LABOUR COURT, DIBRUGARH
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(1.) This is an application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India by the Management of Hattiali Tea Estate (hereinafter referred to as the Management) against the award of the learned Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Assam, at Dibrugarh, in Reference No. 39 of 1969 by which the reference was disposed of in favour of the concerned workman. The facts, in brief, are as below: As per the provisions of the Plantations Labour Act, 1951 and the Rules framed thereunder, the Management provided a quarter to Mantri Naik, the workman concerned in the case. On receipt of an information that the workman was constructing a house adjoining his quarter, without permission, the Manager of the Tea Estate directed him to dismantle the construction by a letter dated 7-7-1965. As the workman did not carry out this direction, the Manager again wrote to him on 14-7-1965 to dismantle the same but to no effect. The workman completed the construction in violation of the order of the Manager. Thereupon the management issued a charge sheet (Annexure C, Page 19) against the workman for violation of the lawful and reasonable order issued by the Manager for dismantling the house. The workman submitted an explanation expressing his inability to dismantle the house on religious ground, alleging inter alia, that he had installed a deity in that house. The management thereupon proceeded with a domestic enquiry, in course of which three witnesses including the Manager were examined before the Enquiry Officer in support of the charge in presence of the workman, who had cross-examined the witnesses. At the conclusion of the enquiry, the Enquiry Officer submitted his report that the charge against the workman was proved (Annexure D, Page 22). Thereafter, the Manager of the Estate having agreed with the finding of the Enquiry Officer dismissed the workman by letter dated 7-8-1965 (Annexure E, Page 23). Thereupon the Respondent No. 2, namely, the workmen of Hattiali T. E. represented by the Assam Cha Mazdoor Sangha raised an industrial dispute and accordingly the State Government by a Notification dated 4th September, 1969 referred the said industrial dispute to the Labour Court under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act for adjudication on the following issues:
(1) Whether the management of Hattiali T. E. are justified in dismissing Shri Mantri Naik, Chowkidar
(2) If not, is he entitled to reinstatement with back wages or any other relief in lieu thereof
(2.) The petitioner as well as the Respondent No. 2 filed their written statement before the Labour Court. The case of the petitioner was that a proper and fair domestic enquiry was held against the workman and that the findings of the Enquiry Officer were based on evidence. In the said premises, it was contended, the dismissal order passed by the management was justified and there was no scope for interference by the Court. The case of the respondent No. 2 was that the enquiry was not proper, and the dismissal was not justified. The petitioner filed an application before the Labour Court with a prayer that if the Labour Court held that the domestic enquiry was not proper, it should be given an opportunity to adduce evidence on merits.
(3.) The Management examined two witnesses before the Labour Court to prove that there was a proper enquiry. The workman examined himself in support of his contention and no other witness.;
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