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Kakajan Tea Estate (Debranpar Division) Vs. Labour Court and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Labour and Industrial
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Judge
AppellantKakajan Tea Estate (Debranpar Division)
RespondentLabour Court and ors.
Excerpt:
.....for a just cause for a father to control his daughter and this had no relation or connexion with the working and discipline of the industry, but this was purely a private incident. hence, the action of the employer is dismissing such a workman must be held perfectly justified. the suggestion in the case by both the workman as well as by the union representing him was that the step-daughter was contemplating to run away with a koya boy of inferior caste against her father's will and the workman administered the chastisement to her in order to control her. this can, by no retch of imagination, be said to have any connexion with the establishment, or the work done by the workman in the establishment, is this connexion we would like to pointout that there may be a situation where some..........the management framed charges against the workman to the effect that he severely beat up his step-daughter dukhmi turi on 21 october 1958 and that she was brought to the hospital in an unconscious condition. it was further alleged against the workman that in the post also he was found guilty of various kinds of misbehaviour and rowdyism by the garden panchayat. the second portion of the charge is vague and relates to some incidents which apparently were not made the subject-matter of any charge at all but were sought to be used in support of the charge now framed, namely, that he had beaten his step-daughter.2. the management, after holding a domestic inquiry, held that his conduct in beating his step-daughter severely, amounted to gross misconduct and violation of the standing.....
Judgment:

C.S. Nayudu, J.

1. In this civil rule the validity of the award passed by the labour court, Assam, directing the reinstatement of Hardial Turi, a permanent workman of the petitioner tea estate, is questioned. The management framed charges against the workman to the effect that he severely beat up his step-daughter Dukhmi Turi on 21 October 1958 and that she was brought to the hospital in an unconscious condition. It was further alleged against the workman that in the post also he was found guilty of various kinds of misbehaviour and rowdyism by the garden panchayat. The second portion of the charge is vague and relates to some incidents which apparently were not made the subject-matter of any charge at all but were sought to be used in support of the charge now framed, namely, that he had beaten his step-daughter.

2. The management, after holding a domestic inquiry, held that his conduct in beating his step-daughter severely, amounted to gross misconduct and violation of the standing orders and accordingly dismissed the work-man. An industrial dispute was raised and the matter came up for consideration before the labour court. The presiding officer of the labour court, after taking evidence and considering the same, came to the conclusion that the incident complained against did not take place during the duty hours or in the premises of the management, that the workman was not on duty at the time, that the beating was for a just cause for a father to control his daughter and this had no relation or connexion with the working and discipline of the industry, but this was purely a private incident. So holding, the presiding officer of the labour court followed the decisions of Central India Coalfields, Ltd., Calcutta v. Ram Bilas Shobnath 1961-I L.L..J. 546 and set aside the order of the management and directed that the workman be reinstated giving him the normal relief of reinstatement with full back-wages are continuity of service.

3. The main and important question that falls to be considered in this civil rule is whether the conduct attributed to the workman in beating his step-daughter by way of correction could be held to amount to misconduct within the meaning of the standing orders, and whether it would have the effect of subverting discipline in the establishment; for, if the incident is purely a private affair between a father and his child, the management would have nothing to do with it and the incident would not have any effect on the general discipline obtaining in the management, in such cases the authorities have laid down certain tests, namely, whether the action attributed to the workman was done on the premises of the establishment, whether it was done during the working hours, whether the workman in question was at the time in the discharge of his duties as a workman of the establishment and whether it has any intimate or direct connexion with the performance of his duties as a workman in the establishment.

4. In this connexion it would be useful firstly to refer to the case in 1961-I L.L.J. 546 (vide supra). In that case the respondent had been employed by the appellant as a workman who performed his duties as an underground munshi. A complaint was received against the respondent from several other workmen in the appellant's colliery that the respondent was guilty of rowdy and indecent behaviour at night on 5 June 1957. He went to the quarters of his co-workmen drunk and in a state of heavy intoxication. First he knocked violently at the door of Sarkar Babu, then at the door of Srivastava Babu and used dirty and filthy language of abuse. Then he moved to the door of Madhu Babu and began to tear down the screens and abused Madhu Babu. He then knocked at the door of Tulsi Babu who thought that there might be same accident and so he left left his dinner and opened the door. The respondent then entered the room using filthy language and threw the articles in the room either and thither. The neighbours then collected on the scene and with great difficulty took out the respondent from Tulsi Babu's room. It was further alleged against, the workman that he was a drunkard and was in the habit of causing nuisance to his neighbours. In this context their lordships of the Supreme Court observed as follows at p. 548:

Normally the standing orders would apply to the behaviour on the premises where the workmen discharge their duties and during the hours of their work. It may also be conceded that if a quarrel takes place between workmen outside the working hours and away from the workspot, that would be a private matter which may not fall within the provisions of such standing order. But in the special circumstances of the instant case is clear that the incident took place in the quarters at a short distance from the work-spot. Hence, the action of the employer is dismissing such a workman must be held perfectly Justified. It was further proved that unlees the employer took some action against the concerned workman, breach of peace among the workman was threatened. The employer could not consider such a matter with complacence.

It follows from this decision that if a Quarrel takes place between workmen outside the working hours and away from the work-spot, that should be regarded as a private matter which may not fall within the provisions of the standing orders of the establishment. In the instant case, the incident occurred between the workman and his step-daughter. The suggestion in the case by both the workman as well as by the union representing him was that the step-daughter was contemplating to run away with a Koya boy of inferior caste against her father's will and the workman administered the chastisement to her in order to control her. No doubt the indications on record are that the workman handed his step-daughter rather brutally. But that by itself would not necessarily bring the case within the scope of the standing orders so long as the other conditions are not fulfilled, namely, the connexion with the establishment and the work that is bring performed by the workman is connexion with the establishment.

5. Reference may be made to the case of Tata Oil Mills Company, Ltd. v. their workman 1964-II L.L.J. 113, which related to a case of fighting outside a factory of the appellant. In interpreting standing order 22(viii) of the appellant it was held in this case that it would be unreasonable to include within standing order 22(vili) any riotous behaviour without the factory which was the result of purely private and individual dispute and in course of which tempers of both the contestants became hot. In that contest their lordships of the Supreme Court made it quite clear as to the circumstances which should bring the case within the scope of the standing order and observed as follows:

In order that standing Order 22(viii) may be attracted, it must be shown that the disorderly or riotous behaviour had same rational connexion with the employment of the assailant and the eviction.

In the instant case, we consider that the matter is purely a domestic one between the father and his step-daughter in connexion with the marriage of his step-dauaghter. The father apparently as father and guardian must have considered himself justified in preventing unsuitable alliance of his step-daughter while the step-daughter was insisting on entering into it. This can, by no retch of imagination, be said to have any connexion with the establishment, or the work done by the workman in the establishment, is this connexion we would like to pointout that there may be a situation where some connexion could be said to have been established. For example, if the father had chastised his daughter because she didnot regularly do her work under the management, or because she had gone earlier than usual in the work of the management, it might be Quite reasonable to hold that the action of the workman had been in connexion with the work under the management and in such a case his action might perhaps be regarded an violation of the standing orders. Apart from the dispute being domestic the occurrence took place in the house of the workman, where he was living with his step-daughter.

6. Sri Goswami strongly contended that many workmen are upset over this incident and expressed the desire that the workman should be sent away, but that is neither here nor there.

7. Sri Goswami placed reliance on the cases of Workmen of the Shalimar Rope Works v. Shalimar Rope Works, Ltd., Hawrah 1953-II L.L.J. 876, and Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Mazdoor Union v. Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works, Ltd. 1966-II L.L.J. 264. These cases, in our opinion have no direct application to the facts of the instant case and particularly much value cannot be attached to them in view of the dear pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the two decisions mentioned above. In the result, we feel that the workman could not have been properly dealt with under the standing orders on the facts of the instant case and that the presiding officer of the labour court was fully justified in setting aside the order of dismissal passed by the management in the case and directing the reinstatement of the workman.

8. We find that the incident, in the instant case, took place on 21 October 1958 and the dismissal order was made on 1 November 1958. It is not known whether the workman was employed elsewhere during all this period. It is unfortunate that although notice have been served on them, the union has not chosen to enter appearance in this proceeding and this Court could not receive any assistance from them. But the order of the labour court regarding payment of back-wages cannot be made in the circumstances of the case and we feel that the order should be modified to read as follows:

The workman should be paid the fall back-wages on reinstatement in the event of his not having been working elsewhere and if he had been working elsewhere, that circumstance would certainly be weighed and that period excluded in the matter of his drawing emoluments from the petitioner.

Subject to this modification, the civil rule in dismissed, but we make no order as to costs.


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