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The Management of Sakhigopal Regional Cocoanut Growers' Co-operative Society Limited Vs. Choudhary Nilakantha Das and Ors. (02.08.1974 - ORiHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1975)ILLJ259Ori
AppellantThe Management of Sakhigopal Regional Cocoanut Growers' Co-operative Society Limited
RespondentChoudhary Nilakantha Das and Ors.
Excerpt:
.....well as the deputy registrar of the co- operative societies. after an unsuccessful reconciliation it was referred to the industrial tribunal and the said terms of reference as follows: it will be neither for the good of the society nor of opposite party no. 7. in the background of the case, we are satisfied that it would not be in the interest of either party that the order of reinstatement should be allowed to stand......carries on business on the products of cocoanut trees and its byproducts. choudhury nilakantha das opposite party no. 1 was appointed as its manager temporarily on 8-1-1961 (annexure 1) with a salary of rs. 65 per month. on 8-9-68, the board of management resolved directing opposite party no. l to collect an amount of rs. 36,000 by 10-10-1968 which was said to have been unauthorisedly given on credit by him. later, on 29-10-1968, the opposite party no. 1 was charge-sheeted under annexure 4 on several charges to which he offered his explanation substantially denying liability under annexure 5. however, the board on 9-12-1968 resolved to initiate proceedings against opposite party no. 1 under the act for realisation of an amount of rs. 24,781.99. the president of the society gave an.....
Judgment:

K.B. Panda, J.

1. The petitioner is a cooperative society registered under the Orissa Co-operative Societies Act, 1962 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) named as theSakhigopal Regional Cocoanut Growers' Cooperative Society, Ltd. (hereinafter referred to us the Society). It carries on business on the products of cocoanut trees and its byproducts. Choudhury Nilakantha Das opposite party No. 1 was appointed as its manager temporarily on 8-1-1961 (Annexure 1) with a salary of Rs. 65 per month. On 8-9-68, the Board of Management resolved directing opposite party No. l to collect an amount of Rs. 36,000 by 10-10-1968 which was said to have been unauthorisedly given on credit by him. Later, on 29-10-1968, the opposite party No. 1 was charge-sheeted under Annexure 4 on several charges to which he offered his explanation substantially denying liability under Annexure 5. However, the Board on 9-12-1968 resolved to initiate proceedings against opposite party No. 1 under the Act for realisation of an amount of Rs. 24,781.99. The president of the society gave an opportunity to opposite party No. 1 for a personal hearing before the Managing Board on 9-12-1969. On receipt of the said letter Annexure 6 Sri Das (opposite party No. 1) by his letter dated 3-2-1969 Annexure 8 refuted the charges and demanded his arrear salary. It is alleged in the petition that opposite party No. 1 admitted before the members of the Board that he had not deposited in the treasury the sales tax dues on 13-11-1968 or at any time thereafter although he stated falsely so before the secretary of the society. The Board resolved that the management had lost confidence on Sri Das decided that he should be discharged from employment with effect from l-ll-1968.Therefore, according to the resolution dated 9-12-69 Annexure 9 Sri Das (opposite party No. 1) stood discharged from services of the petitioner, society with effect from 1st November, 1968.

2. Consequently, opposite party No. 1 raised a dispute against the society under Section 68 of the Act in which he lost both before the Assistant Registrar as well as the Deputy Registrar of the Co- operative Societies. The petitioner-society also filed a case against Sri Das under Section 68 of the Act for realisation of Rs. 33,747.15 with interest which was alleged to have been realised from the customers of the society and misappropriated by him. It was contested but finally decreed in favour of the society with nine per cent interest against opposite party No. 1 (Annexure 12.)

3. Sri Das, O.P. 1 raised an Industrial dispute challenging the action of the petitioner-society in terminating his employment. After an unsuccessful reconciliation it was referred to the Industrial Tribunal and the said terms of reference as follows:

Whether the discharge of Sri Choudhury Nilakantha Das, ex-employee of the Regional Cocoanut Growers' Marketing Society Ltd., Sakhigopal, District Puri by the management with effect from 1-11-68 is legal and/or justified If not, to what relief he is entitled

Accordingly Industrial Disputes case No. 31 of 1971 was registered. Therefore, opposite party No. 1 examined himself and from the side of the petitioner-society, the secretary and its accountant examined themselves and filed some documents. The learned Tribunal held that Sri Das (O. P. No. 1) was a workman within the meaning of Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 ; that his discharge order with effect from 11-11-68 is not legal and justified and as such, he should be reinstated forthwith'. It is for quashing this award of the Tribunal dated 25-9-1972 that this application under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution has been filed.

4. In the counter-affidavit filed by opposite party No. 1 it is inter alia stated that there is no error apparent on the face of the record and that there being no want of jurisdiction of the Industrial Tribunal in passing the a ward, interference is unwarranted.

5. Mr. Nanda, learned Counsel for the petitioner-society contended that all the findings of the Tribunal, namely, that opposite party No. 1 was a workman, that his termination was illegal and that he should be reinstated are contrary to law and facts of the case.

6. Since on an assessment of evidence tendered before the Tribunal it has come to a finding that whatever be the designation of opposite party No. 1, he was a workman, we do not feel justified on interfering with the same. About his discharge the learned Tribunal said thus-

During the hearing of the proceeding before me the management had to concede that no domestic enquiry was held against Sri Das. A copy of the charge-sheet alone was served on him and he gave his explanation thereto. Thereafter, the president of the society passed the order on 29-1-1969 discharging Sri Das from service with effect from 1-11-1968 and while doing so, he asked Sri Das to collect the arrear dues of the society. It is, therefore, apparently clear that principles of natural justice have been violated in not giving opportunities to Sri Das to defend himself and in not conducting a domestic enquiry. The order of discharge dated 29-1-1969 is a peculiar one inasmuch as while discharging Sri Das with effect from 1-11-1968, the president has asked him to collect arrear dues. In substance, the president has not discharged Sri Das from service in his order dated 29-1-1969 and, therefore, the order of discharge is apparently illegal.

Since this finding is also based on an assessment of facts we are not inclined to interfere. So far as the order of re-instatement awarded by the Tribunal is concerned, we are unable to confirm the same. As is evident from the narration of facts, there are proceedings and counter proceedings between the petitioner-society and opposite party No. 1, Obviously both the parties, namely, the petitioner and opposite party No. 1 have lost trust and confidence in each other. It will be neither for the good of the society nor of opposite party No. 1 that they should continue as master and servant in this atmosphere of distrust and suspicion. The position that opposite party No. 1 occupies vis-a-vis the society is not such that there is a hierarchy of officers above him who would control his work. He, as it appears, is the main spring of the society and as such, it would mean much to the petitioner if he is allowed to transact its business.

7. In the background of the case, we are satisfied that it would not be in the interest of either party that the order of reinstatement should be allowed to stand. Accordingly we set aside that part of the award only, name reinstatement of opposite party No. 1. So far as the other reliefs regarding his pay, the arrear pay if any, and the dues of the society if any are concerned, we advisedly refrain from passing any opinion over the same. It is on record that these are already the subject-matter of pending disputes and parties are free to pursue their remedies in the proper forum. The petition is allowed in part. We quash the direction of reinstatement of the petitioner. But, in the circumstances make no direction as to costs.

R.N. Misra, J.

8. I agree.


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