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Allahabad Bank and Ors. vs. Krishan Pal Singh - (Supreme Court) (20 Sep 2021)

Reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case of unlawful termination/ dismissal

MANU/SC/0665/2021

Labour and Industrial

The present appeal has been preferred by the Appellant-Bank against the order passed by High Court quashing the Industrial Tribunal’s order of directing the Appellants to reinstate the Respondent with all consequential benefits.

The Respondent herein was appointed as Clerk-cum-Cashier. During the year 1989, he was posted in Aurangabad Branch wherein there was fire accident in the Bank and an FIR was registered with regard to burning incident of Bank records by unknown persons. Suspecting the complicity of the Respondent, he was placed under suspension and disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him. Ultimately, on completion of enquiry, the Respondent was dismissed from service and the departmental appeal, preferred by him was also rejected by Appellate Authority.

The Respondent raised the industrial dispute and the same was referred to the Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court. The Industrial Tribunal has passed the Award and held that misconduct alleged against the Respondent is not proved, but on the ground that a case is made out by the management of loss of confidence, has ordered payment of compensation of Rs. 30,000/- in lieu of reinstatement. The Respondent-workman, being aggrieved and seeking reinstatement with back wages, carried the matter to the High Court. The High Court has ordered reinstatement of the Respondent with all consequential benefits. Hence, th present appeal has been filed by the Appellant.

The court observed that the Respondent was appointed in the Bank as Clerk-cum-Cashier on 23.09.1985 and he was placed under suspension on 13.02.1989 and dismissed from service vide Order dated 22.08.1991. Including the suspension period, he was in Bank service for about six years before dismissal. Thereafter, he was unsuccessful before the departmental Appellate Authority and the Industrial Tribunal ordered payment of lump sum monetary compensation of Rs. 30,000/- in lieu of reinstatement.

The directions issued by the High Court for reinstatement were stayed by this Court on 23.08.2019. During the pendency of these proceedings, the Respondent-workman had attained age of superannuation. Though, there was strong suspicion, there was no acceptable evidence on record for dismissal of the workman. However, as the workman has worked only for a period of about six years and he has already attained the age of superannuation, it is a fit case for modification of the relief granted by the High Court. The reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case, where termination/dismissal is found to be not in accordance with procedure prescribed under law. Considering that the Respondent was in effective service of the Bank only for about six years and he is out of service since 1991, and in the meantime, Respondent had attained age of superannuation, we deem it appropriate that ends of justice would be met by awarding lump sum monetary compensation. We accordingly direct payment of lump sum compensation of Rs. 15 lakhs to the Respondent, within a period of eight weeks from today. Failing to pay the same within the aforesaid period, the Respondent is entitled for interest @ 6% per annum, till payment. This Civil Appeal is partly allowed. Order of the High Court dated 25.04.2019 stands modified to the extent indicated above.

Tags : REINSTATEMENT   COMPENSATION  

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