1. In this writ petition, under Art. 227 of the Constitution, the petitioner seeks to get quashed the order passed by respondent 2 in Sl. No. 8 of 1963 on his file by issuing a writ of certiorari.
2. Serial No. 8 of 1963 on the file of respondent 2 was an application made by the petitioner under S. 33(2)(b) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, seeking approval of respondent 2 for dismissal of respondent 1 which had been ordered on 25 March, 1963. Respondent 2 refused to accord the approval prayed for. Hence this petition.
3. The material facts of the case are these :
Respondent 1 was a checking inspector serving under the petitioner. He was charged with as many as five items of misconduct and in respect of those charges, an enquiry, was held by the petitioner. At the enquiry, the petitioner came to the conclusion that respondent 1 was guilty of those charges. Therefore, he dismissed respondent 1 from service after complying with the requirements of the law and, thereafter, applied to respondent 2 for approval under S. 33(2)(b), as there was an industrial dispute pending between the petitioner and its workmen. As mentioned earlier, respondent 2 refused to accord the approval prayed for.
4. At the outset, it may be mentioned that it appears from the order impugned that respondent 2 was under an erroneous impression that the application made before him was one under S. 33(1) and not under S. 33(2). In order it is stated :
'Since there is no prima facie case on this charge, the permission sought for cannot be granted.'
5. A permission is contemplated only in an application under S. 33(1) and not in an application under S. 33(2).
6. Respondent 2 went into the merits of the first charge and came to the conclusion that charge is not established. He did not go into the other charges. Solely on the basis of that finding that no prima facie case was made out in respect of first charge, he refused to accord the approval asked for. This is clearly an erroneous view of the law. As seen earlier, the dismissal of respondent 1 had been ordered on the ground that he was guilty of five charges. The fact that one of the charges levelled against him is not established, even if true, is not sufficient to withhold the approval asked for.
7. Even as regards the first charge, in our opinion, the industrial tribunal was wholly wrong in its conclusion. The charge against respondent 1 was that he abetted the conductor in misappropriate a sum of Rs. 2, on 26 December, 1962. The admitted facts of the case are that, on that day, the conductor did not enter the receipt of all the sums of money received by him in respect of the tickets issued. Respondent 1 checked the tickets and the relevant records on that day. He did not report about the shortage. These are undisputed facts. From those circumstances, the petitioner has drawn the inference that respondent 1 had abetted the conductor in misappropriating the amount in question. It cannot be said that such an inference is not available at all. It may be that other tribunal might have drawn different conclusions from the facts established. But that is not a matter for consideration by the industrial tribunal. All that the industrial tribunal has to do is to see whether on the conclusion reached at the domestic enquiry a prima facie case is made out against the worker concerned. It is not open to the tribunal to reassess the evidence adduced before the domestic tribunal or go into merits of the case. The true scope of S. 33(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, has been considered by the Supreme Court in Lord Krishna Textile Mills v. Its workmen [1961 - I LLJ. 211].
8. It is clear from the impugned order that the industrial tribunal has gone into the matter as if it was an appellate Court. It has reviewed evidence placed before the domestic tribunal and reassessed the same and thereafter reached its own conclusion. The approach adopted by the tribunal was wholly wrong. The order of the tribunal was undoubtedly suffers from errors of law apparent on the face of the record.
9. For the reasons mentioned above, this petition is allowed and the order impugned in this case is set aside and the approval asked for granted. No costs.