In the Matter of Subhash Gulabchand Pawar v. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, a petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Indian Constitution contesting the Member Industrial Court’s decision and order dismissing the Section 28 of the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practises Act, 1971 complaint and refusing to grant temporary protection. During a bus inspection, the petitioner, a conductor employed by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, was determined to have misappropriated cash. Despite collecting charges of Rs. 646 and Rs. 352, the inspection team found that the petitioner had not provided tickets to four passengers and was short on cash. Allegedly, the petitioner was hastily procuring four tickets for passengers to a location to which none of the passengers were going. An accusation of unfair labour practises under Items 1(a), (b), (d), (f), and (g) of Schedule IV of the 1971 Act was made following the service of a charge sheet on the petitioner. The petitioner also requested temporary relief, requesting that MSRTC refrain from enforcing any fines up to the final judgement. The Member Industrial Court agreed with the Labour Court’s ruling in the Revision Application and dismissed the petitioner’s plea for temporary relief. In the current instance, the lawsuit was contested.
whether the two lower courts’ use of discretion was appropriate
Contention From Parties
The petitioner claimed that the proposed sentence was outrageously disproportionate and that the inquiry officer was unable to reach a conclusion of wrongdoing in the absence of testimony from passengers who complained that their fare was taken without giving tickets.
Analysis of Court order
Justice N.J. Jamadar of the Bombay High Court’s Single Judge Bench dismissed the petition and emphasised that the petitioner’s continuous enjoyment of interim protection could not be the justification for its continuation until the time of the final decision because he had failed to establish a compelling case in his favour.
Based on inspection records, passenger testimony, and the evidence of the leader of the inspection squad, the Court determined that the Inquiry Officer’s conclusions were improper. The Court decided that the information met the criteria for admissibility as evidence to support the domestic tribunal’s conclusions and that the justifiability of the conclusions cannot be called into doubt since passengers were not questioned. In the State of Haryana v. Rattan Singh, a case decided by the Supreme Court, the Industrial Adjudicator decided not to terminate the conductor’s employment based on the conclusions of the domestic tribunal. This judgement was based on that decision. The Supreme Court emphasised the standards for acceptable evidence in domestic investigations and the rules governing court involvement during judicial review.
The Court determined that the Labour and Industrial Courts had good cause to decline to rule in the petitioner’s favour. The petitioner failed to present a compelling argument in his support, thus the Court emphasised that his continued enjoyment of interim protection could not be the justification for its retention until the date of the final judgement. As a result, the Court denied the present petition.
CASE NAME – Subhash Gulabchand Pawar v. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, WP No. 4478/23