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To secure industrial peace and harmony, one must provide machinery and procedure for the investigation and settlement of industrial disputes: High Court Of New Delhi

The present writ petition was filed by M/s Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (‘Management’) challenging various orders passed by the Presiding Officer, and the same issue was held in the judgement passed by a single bench judge comprising  JUSTICE PRATHIBA M. SINGH, in the matter  M/S HINDUSTAN ANTIBIOTICS LIMITED V. B.N. SINGH dealt with an issue mentioned above.

The Respondent- Workman was appointed as a Medical Representative in the office of the Management in Patna. He worked with the Management until 1996, a charge sheet was issued against him by the Management On 14th November 1996, on the ground that he had falsely claimed Leave Travel Concession ( ‘LTC’) by filing a receipt of travel from Delhi to Patna and back, amounting to Rs. 6,000/-.

Later an enquiry was conducted and a report dated 10th August 1999, was submitted by the then enquiry officer. As per the said report, the Workman was found guilty of the charges levelled – i.e., ‘Fraud or Dishonesty in connection with the company’s business or property. But An appeal was preferred by the Workman before the Appellate Authority, which was dismissed vide order dated 9th November 2000. The Workman filed a writ petition being CWP 3395/2001, seeking quashing of the said termination order dated 28th August 2000, as well as the enquiry report against him.

The High Court, vide order dated 6th August 2002, recorded the statement of the Management that a new enquiry officer would be appointed in the matter, and accordingly ordered for the Workman to be reinstated into service until the fresh enquiry was completed. The writ petition was disposed of with the said direction.

Meanwhile, the Workman was then reinstated into service on 29th August 2002, and he joined the services of the Management at the Delhi branch on 5th September 2002. On 30th October 2002, a fresh charge sheet was issued against the Workman, and an independent domestic enquiry was again conducted. Again he was found guilty of all the charges levelled in respect of the LTC availed by him.

This termination letter dated 14 th October 2009, was challenged by the Workman by invoking remedies under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 ( “Act”), i.e., by filing a statement of claim before the Conciliation Officer under the Act.

Mr D. Roy Chaudhary, appearing for the Management, has made three broad submissions:

  • The Labour Court did not have jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate the Claim of the Workman
  • The independent domestic enquiry reports arrived at a clear conclusion that there was the fabrication of the bill of Rs.6,000/-, which was availed of as LTC by the Workman, showing travel from Delhi to Patna and back
  • Finally, the judgment of the Supreme Court in OP Bhandari v. Indian Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. and Ors. (1986) 4 SCC 337

Was mentioned by the advocate.

 Mr B.N. Singh,( The workman ) appears in person and submits the following:

  • The Management did not lead any evidence in the matter throughout the proceedings before the Labour Court.
  • There need not be any loss of confidence in respect of him, as he has rendered services with the Management since 1982.
  • He is entitled to approximately Rs. 50,00,000/- in terms of the Labour Court award.

Accordingly in the opinion of this Court, the termination of the Workman, vide letter dated 14th October 2009, cannot stand in the eyes of law, as the Management has not proved on record that there was any fabrication of a bill of Rs.6,000/- by the Workman.

The court perused the facts and argument’s presented, it believed that- “It is made clear that these amounts shall be paid without prejudice to the payment under Section 17B of the Act, which is stated to be the subject matter of LPA No. 506/2019, titled B.N. Singh v. M/s Hindustan Antibiotics Limited. At this stage, Mr Debasish Moitra, ld. Counsel for the Management submits that the Workman has been paid the amounts due under Section 17B in terms of the order. The said statement is taken on record. However, the issue of payment under Section 17B has not been gone into by this Court. The present petition and all pending applications are disposed of in the above terms”.

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Judgment Reweied by: Mandira BS

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