GENERAL MANAGER MUGMA AREA EASTERN COALFIELDS LTD Vs. GOPAL CHANDRA MONDAL
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
GENERAL MANAGER, MUGMA AREA EASTERN COALFIELDS LTD
GOPAL CHANDRA MONDAL
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(1.)- This is an appeal directed against the order passed by the learned single Judge dated 28th February, 1997 whereby the learned single Judge has allowed the writ petition and held that the termination of the writ petitioner is in utter violation of Article 21 of the Constitution because the provisions of section 25F of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, admittedly, not complied with while terminating the service of the petitioner. Hence the learned single Judge allowed the writ petition and set aside the order dated 19th August, 1994 issued by the General Manager, Mugma Area (annexure 'B' of the writ petition). The learned single Judge directed the respondents to pay the petitioner within six weeks from the date of the judgment, all arrear salaries and allowances from the date of termination of his service till the date of the judgment, which the petitioner would have been entitled to had his service not been terminated.
(2.)For convenient disposal of this appeal, brief facts may be taken note of. On 10th July, 1972 the petitioner joined the service of the Eastern Coalfields Limited. Thereafter, by reason of the enactment Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1972, the right, title and interest of the collieries mentioned in the schedule to the Act were transferred and vested in the Central Government. By virtue of the aforesaid notification a company known as 'Coal India Limited' came into existence. The respondent No. 2, Eastern Coalfields Limited is a subsidiary of Coal India Limited and manages various collieries including Badjna Colliery under Mugma area in the Eastern Region, Dhanbad which were nationalised by the said Act. After nationalisation with effect from 1st May, 1973, the petitioner became the employee of Coal India Limited. The petitioner stood surety by executing indemnity bond in the year 1991 in connection with the employment of one Mahesh Kora on the ground of death of his sister Dingle Kora who was working in Badjna Colliery under Mugma area of Eastern Coalfields Limited, Dhanbad. This lady was in employment of the Badjna Colliery, Mugma area, Dhanbad as wagon loader. After her death, Mahesh Kora claimed himself to be a dependent of the deceased and sought employment in terms of provisions contained in Clause 9.4.0 of NCWA-IV and he was given employment in terms of the aforesaid clause. Both the petitioner and Punu Mudi jointly declared and stood as sureties of Mahesh Kora with a declaration that if the relationship between the deceased employee and the claimant is found false they would be summarily dismissed from employment. After inquiry by the Vigilance Department it was found that Mahesh Kora is not the brother of the deceased, Dingle Kora and the declaration made by him that Mahesh Kora is the brother of deceased, Dingle Kora was found to be false. On the basis of this finding of the vigilance department the service of Mahesh Kora was terminated. Likewise, the service of the petitioner was also terminated on whose surety and indemnity bond Mahesh Kora was given employment. The declaration of the petitioner was found to be false and as per the indemnity bond the service of the petitioner was terminated. This order of termination came to be first challenged by the petitioner by filing a writ petition which was allowed and against that an appeal was preferred and the Division Bench of this Court set aside the order of the learned single Judge and held that the petitioner has alternative remedy of agitating the matter before the forum created under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Therefore, the Division Bench held that the trial Judge should not have entertained the writ petition and should have directed the petitioner to resort to the alternative remedy created under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Aggrieved against this order a special leave petition was filed and the Hon'ble Supreme Court set aside the order of the Division Bench by the order dated 18th August, 2000 and held that the question whether the termination of the appellant is invalid or not ought to have been examined by the Court and ought not to have relegated the petitioner to an alternative remedy particularly when the writ petition had been allowed on merits. Their Lordships held that when a writ petition is entertained and kept pending it is not appropriate to ask the parties to work out their rights in an alternative proceeding. Their Lordships further held that the termination of the petitioner is in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. Therefore, the Apex Court set aside the order of the Division Bench and remitted the matter back to this High Court for decision. Hence the matter has come up before us.
(3.)At the outset learned counsel for the appellant/management placed an objection with regard to territorial jurisdiction of this Court to entertain this writ petition. It is pointed out that the petitioner was working in Badjna Colliery, Mugma area of Eastern Coalfields Limited which is situated in the District of Dhanbad in the State of Bihar and in that context learned counsel for the appellant invited our attention to the termination order and the affidavit filed by the writ petitioner. The termination order passed by the General Manager, Mugma area, Dhanbad reads as under:
"Eastern Coalfields Limited Office of the General Manager Mugma Area, P.O. Mugma Dhanbad Ref. ECL/GM/MA/94/2120 Dated 19.8.94 To Sri Gopal Chandra Mondal, Electrical Supervisor, Badjna Colliery. Termination of Service It has been established during the course of enquiry that Sri Mahesh Kora who has submitted claim for employment against the death of late Dingle Kora, Ex. Wagon Loader of Badjna Colliery is not actually Sri Mahesh Kora, but Sri Mahesh Mudi, S/o. Sri Punu Mudi. In indemnity bond submitted along with employment papers it has been observed that you have stand surety before Notary Dhanbad that if the relationship between late Dingle Kora and Sri Mahesh Kora is found to be false/incorrect, you are liable for dismissed/termination from the service of the company. Since relationship between late Dingle Kora and Sri Mahesh Kora is found false/incorrect, the management has directed to terminate your service from the company with immediate effect. Accordingly, your service is hereby terminated from the service of the company with immediate effect. Sd/- Illegible 19.9.94 General Manager Mugma Area."
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