Having considered the matter fully, I am satisfied that it is no longer expedient to employ Shri Manas Mukherjee, Assistant, Order Department, Durgapur Steel Plant any further.
It is therefore ordered that Shri Manas Mukherjee be removed from the service of the Company with effect from 24-8-1970.
He is allowed three months' salary which he may collect from- the cash section of the Finance Department by 26-8-1970.
The expression 'no longer expedient' as used in the order clearly spells out the fact that some enquiry was started. .What prompted the General Manager to close the enquiry, one cannot gather from the order. But our attention was invited to Ann. R-2 which according to the respondents specifies the reasons recorded in writing for dispensing with the enquiry. Briefly, in Ann. R-2, it is stated that the authority concerned has looked into the secret report sent to him by Shri P. S. Rao Naidu, Planning & Progress Officer, Order Deptt. and the comments of DGM thereon. He has also stated that he has looked into the report received from Sr. AO (E) and the copy of the complaint lodged by Smt. Gita Majumdar, wife of an employee in the plant with the police. These recitals have been considered sufficient to dispense with the enquiry. If Smt. Gita Majumdar did file a report with the police making accusation against the appellant, she would have to be examined in the criminal case. She could have been more conveniently called before the enquiry officer, and the secret reports remain secret. The reasons for dispensing with the enquiry do not spell out what was the nature of the misconduct alleged to have been committed by the appellant and what prompted the General Manager to dispense with the enquiry. It is difficult to hold that the recitals of the order spell out some objective reasons and the reasons were germane to the question of dispensing with the enquiry. Frankly speaking, we are not satisfied in this case that for valid, objective and relevant reasons, the enquiry was dispensed with.
8. An attempt was made to urge that some annexure to the counter-affidavit would show certain complaints received against the appellant. We decline to look into them as they were not given to the appellant in the course of enquiry to meet or explain the same. We consider them irrelevant at this stage.
9. Once we hold that there was no justification for dispensing with the enquiry, imposition of penalty of dismissal without disciplinary enquiry as contemplated by S. O. 31 would be illegal and invalid.
10. Two options are thereupon open to us. One would be to permit the General Manager, if he is so minded to hold the disciplinary enquiry and come to his own decision and the second would be to remit the matter to the Labour Court to permit the respondent-employer if it is entitled in law to substantiate the charges of misconduct before the Tribunal.
11. The order removing the appellant from service was passed way back on August 24, 1970. More than 14 years have rolled by. In such a situation, to start the whole thing de novo would neither be of any help to the appellant nor would be conducive to the maintenance, of discipline in the plant. Undoubtedly, once a workman is removed from service a stigma attaches to him, and if the order is held to be not in consonance with the provisions of the relevant standing orders at any rate, the stigma has to be removed.
12. Having given the matter our anxious consideration, we dispose of the appeal as under.
13. The respondent shall recall and cancel the order dated August 24, 1970 removing the appellant from service and reinstate him and on the same day the appellant shall tender resignation of his post which shall be accepted by the respondent. The respondent shall pay as and by way of back wages and future wages, a sum of Rs, 1,50,0007- to the appellant within 2 months from today to be spread over from year to year commencing from the date of removal from service. We give one more opportunity to the respondent to recast its standing order 32 within a period of two weeks to be brought at best in conformity with the second proviso to sub-An. i2i of Article 311 tiling which its validity will he re examined by this Court.
14. The amount of Rs. 1,50,000/: directed to be paid to the appellant by the respondent comprises buck wages and all other allowances admissible to him from year to year from 1970 up to the end of 14X4. The amount shall be spread over from year to year. If because of the lump sum payment as directed herein the respondent is required to deduct Income-tax as enjoined by Section 192 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, the appellant shall be entitled to relief under Section 89 of the Income tax Act, 1961. For this purpose, the appellant shall make an application as required by Section 89 read with Rule 21A to the appropriate authority who would consider granting of relief to the appellant under Sec 89 of the Income-tax Act The proceeding in this behalf shall be disposed of within a period of six months. The appeal is disposed of in these terms with no order as to costs.