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Uttarakhand Transport Corporation and Ors. Vs. Sukhveer Singh - (Supreme Court) (10 Nov 2017)

Mere non-supply of the inquiry report does not automatically warrant reinstatement of the delinquent employee



The Respondent was appointed as a driver with the Appellants-Road Transport Corporation. On 27th October, 1995 while driving a vehicle on Karnal-Haridwar route, the Respondent did not stop the vehicle, when the inspection team signalled. Inquiry officer found that, the charges against the Respondent were proved. It was held that, the Respondent was duty bound to stop the vehicle when a signal was given by the inspecting team. The inquiry officer further held that, the Respondent colluded with the conductor and did not stop the vehicle as there were a number of ticketless passengers in the bus. The disciplinary authority issued a show cause notice along with which the inquiry report was supplied to the Respondent. Not satisfied with the explanation submitted by the Respondent to the show cause notice, the disciplinary authority dismissed him from service by an order. The appellate authority dismissed the appeal filed by the Respondent.

A reference was made to the labour Court which was answered in favour of the Respondent on 15th November, 2007. The writ petition filed by the Respondent challenging the award of the labour Court was allowed by the High Court and the labour Court was directed to reconsider the matter. After remand, the labour court by an award upheld the order of dismissal of the Respondent from service. The Respondent challenged the award of the labour Court by fling a writ petition in the High Court. Present Appeal is filed by the employer against the judgment of the High Court by which the order of dismissal of the Respondent-driver from service was set aside by the High Court. The High Court directed that, the Respondent should be deemed to be in service with all consequential benefits.

Mere non-supply of the inquiry report does not automatically warrant re-instatement of the delinquent employee. It is incumbent upon on the delinquent employee to plead and prove that, he suffered a serious prejudice due to the non-supply of the inquiry report. The writ petition filed by the Respondent has been examined and there is no pleading regarding any prejudice caused to the Respondent by the non-supply of the inquiry report prior to the issuance of the show cause notice. The Respondent had ample opportunity to submit his version after perusing the report of the inquiry officer. The Respondent utilised the opportunity of placing his response to the inquiry report before the disciplinary authority. The High Court committed an error in allowing the writ petition filed by the Respondent without examining whether any prejudice was caused to the delinquent employee by the supply of the inquiry officer's report along with the show cause notice. There was no prejudice caused to the Respondent by the supply of the report of the inquiry officer along with the show cause notice. Hence, no useful purpose will be served by a remand to the Court below to examine the point of prejudice.

The Respondent contended that, the punishment of dismissal is disproportionate to the delinquency. It is submitted that, he was working as a driver and the irregularity in issuance of tickets was committed by the conductor. Respondent had committed the misconduct in collusion with the conductor. It is no more res integra that, acts of corruption/misappropriation cannot be condoned, even in cases where the amount involved is meagre. Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside Judgment of the High Court.

Relevant : U.P.S.R.T.C. v. Suresh Chand Sharma MANU/SC/0403/2010: (2010) 6 SCC 555


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