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Ramdas Daulat Sadarao v. The Divisional Controller, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation - (High Court of Bombay) (06 Jan 2017)

Passengers cannot be examined every case; non-examination of passengers will not affect disciplinary proceedings


Labour and Industrial

Petitioner is aggrieved by the judgment of Industrial Court, by which, his Complaint has been dismissed and punishment of reduction of pay by three stages has been sustained. Petitioner submitted that, Petitioner was charge sheeted for having consumed liquor while on duty and being a Driver, the bus trip was cancelled because of his inability to drive. Petitioner had taken a stand that he had consumed cough syrup. After charges were held to be proved, he was issued with an order of punishment, by which, his pay was reduced by three stages. Grievance is that Bus Conductor alone was examined. No independent witness was examined. No passenger was examined. There is no loss caused to the MSRTC. It is, however, conceded that, there was no stand taken by Petitioner before any authority at any stage that the Conductor had developed animosity towards the petitioner.

Contention as regards non-examining passengers is concerned, same has to be rejected in light of the judgment delivered by Supreme Court in matter of KSRTC Vs. B.S.Hullikatti and KSRTC Vs. A.T.Mane. Settled law is that, passengers cannot be examined in each and every case and non-examination of the passengers will not affect the disciplinary proceedings. Submissions that, punishment imposed is not commensurate to gravity and seriousness of misconduct is concerned, same has to be rejected. It is settled law that a blemished past service record operates as an aggravating factor.

Consuming liquor while on duty and performing the function of a Driver of an ST Bus which has a sitting capacity of 60 and standing capacity of 20, per se is a grave and serious misconduct. Misconduct would not become grave only after such a Driver causes an accident resulting in death of passengers or persons on the street. It is not expected of an employer to wait till such a Driver commits an accident resulting in fatalities. Respondent / Corporation has not imposed punishment of dismissal from service on Petitioner and more so when there are 36 misconducts mentioned in default card.

Supreme Court in the matter of Damoh Panna Sagar Rural Regional Bank and Another vs. Munna Lal Jain has held that merely because the punishment is disproportionate would not warrant interference of this Court. The punishment must amount to a shockingly disproportionate punishment.

Relevant : Damoh Panna Sagar Rural Regional Bank and another Vs. Munna Lal Jain [2005 (104) FLR 291], KSRTC Vs. B.S.Hullikatti [AIR 2001 SC 930] and KSRTC Vs. A.T.Mane [(2005) 3 SCC 254]


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