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Bombay High CourtIndian Cases

Maharashtra State Road Transport … vs Suryakant Dhondiba Mane And Ors. on 21 September 1987

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Bombay High Court
Maharashtra State Road Transport … vs Suryakant Dhondiba Mane And Ors. on 21 September, 1987
Equivalent citations: (1993)IIILLJ684BOM
Author: P.B. Sawant
Bench: P.B. Sawant
JUDGMENT

Vaze, J.

1. Suryakant Mane was employed by Maharashtra Road Transport Corporation as a conductor since 1.11.1970 and was attached to Atpali Depot. On 30.9.1976 the employer Maharashtra Road Transport Corporation dismissed Mane for misconduct after inquiry. The imputation against Mane was that while acting as a conductor in Bus No. 1038 which was plying on the Miraj-Nimbalak route, the bus came to be checked at Shirgaon by the checking staff and it was found that Mane had not issued tickets to five passengers travelling from Tasgaon to Borgaon inspite of having collected the legitimate fare and that Mane did not issue tickets to two passengers travelling from Vanjarwadi to Borgaon. The workman Mane having requested for a reference, a Reference being (IDA) No. 101 of 1981 was made before the Labour Court, Kolhapur which concluded that the charges were duly proved but that the dismissal was disproportionate. On this basis the Labour Court set aside the dismissal and directed the employer to take Mane in their employment as a conductor on an altogether fresh post as a fresh appointment.

2. Aggrieved the employer-Maharashtra State Road Transport has challenged the award by the present petition. A perusal of the award shows that even though the learned Presiding Officer of the Labour Court concluded that not issuing tickets to passengers is a serious charge which has been proved, the conductor Mane being of 35 years of age should be given an opportunity “to open a fresh page in his life”. There is no discussion about the past service record of the conductor except saying that “it is not so very clean”.

3. It appears that even in the very first year of his service Mane embarked upon the misadventure of allowing passengers to be carried without tickets. On 12.6.1971 he was found allowing one passenger without ticket as a result of which he was suspended. In spite of this suspension, Mane learnt nothing and forgot nothing. Within one month, that is on 21.7.1971, he allowed 21 passengers to travel without tickets and the punishment imposed on him was stoppage of increment for six months. This continued even in 1973 when he allowed two passengers without ticket. Apart from allowing passengers without ticket Mane was visited with punishment on no less than 13 occasions for various types of misconduct such as shortage of cash, absence without leave, non-issuance of luggage ticket, excess cash, issuing tickets of lesser denomination, etc. Such a shady background cannot be dismissed summarily as has been done by the Labour Court with the remarks that the record is “not so very clean”. Under these circumstances, we find that the Labour Court has misdirected itself in holding that the dismissal was harsh and excessive without discussing the previous service record of the workman.

4. Petition succeeds. The award setting aside the dismissal and ordering the employer to take Mane in their employment as a conductor is set aside. Rule made absolute with no order as to costs.