Decided on April 11,2003

Kuruvila John Appellant
Plant Manager M R F Ltd Respondents


- (1.) Justice should not only be done, but should also appear to have been done. Essentially, the petitioners in this case attempt to build up a case on the ground of violation of this principle. The allegation is of bias. Ext. P - 3 order of dismissal is passed by the first respondent Plant Manager. The order is passed based on the findings in a domestic enquiry in respect of Ext. P - 2 charge sheet. The first respondent himself is a witness for the management in the domestic enquiry. Short facts: Petitioners were employees of the M.R.F. Limited, Kottayam. On 16th April 1985, 400 bags of H.A.F. Carbon Black were found recorded as having been received in the K - 2 godown of the management company, as per the delivery chalan and Material Gate Pass. The first petitioner was the person responsible so far as the godown, was concerned. The Goods Received Note was prepared by the second petitioner. In fact, no such goods were actually received in the godown. However, on the basis of the alleged fraudulent entries, a payment of Rs. 1.93 lakhs was made in favour of M/s CACIL, the supplier. On coming to know of the issue, the petitioners were issued show cause notices on 25th May 1985. They submitted their explanations on 6th June 1985. Nothing took place for quite some time. They were charge sheeted only on 7th January 1986. The first petitioner was placed under suspension thereafter. The enquiry was conducted originally by one Sri P. T. Mathew and thereafter by one Sri Zachariah Koshi. Though initially the petitioners cooperated with the enquiry, after the appointment of Sri Zachatiah Koshi as the Enquiry Officer, the petitioners did not cooperate.
(2.) The enquiry report was submitted on 11th August 1986. On completion of the formalities, the petitioners were dismissed from service by order dated 16th September 1986. Thereafter, dispute was raised and by order dated 9th March 1987, the Government referred the issue of dismissal of the petitioners for adjudication by the Labour Court. The Labour Court after extensively considering the various contentions taken by the parties found that there was proper and valid domestic enquiry and that the findings of the Enquiry Officer are correct. After upholding the enquiry, the justifiability of the punishment was also considered. It was found that "the punishment imposed on the workmen is proper and justified and no interference is called for by invoking S.11A of the I. D. Act". Thus, award was passed against the petitioners. Hence, this Original Petition.
(3.) Ext. M - 1 is the file relating to the enquiry conducted by Sri Zachariah Koshy. It is seen that Sri George Mathew, the Plant Manager was examined as management witness on 12th July 1986 and thereafter, examining seven other witnesses, the enquiry was closed on 24th July 1986. The Enquiry Officer has relied on the evidence of Sri George Mathew (M W. 1), the Plant Manager. Reliance is placed on the evidence of the said witness for arriving at a finding regarding fraud and dishonesty committed by the petitioners.;

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