The Bombay High Court held that termination of service by mere issuance of show cause notice without holding any disciplinary enquiry is erroneous.

The workman was a driver for catering transportation services to the patrons of Chalet Hotels Ltd. (Hotel). The workman’s services were terminated by one of the contractors of the hotel, post which he raised a demand for reinstatement. The labour court set aside the termination and directed the Hotel to reinstate the workman with continuity and 50% back wages.

Cross petitions were filed by the Hotels and the workman challenging the Award by the labour court before the High Court.

A Single Bench of Justice Sandeep V. Marne observed, “The services of the workman have been terminated by mere issuance of show cause notice without holding any disciplinary enquiry. He was not paid retrenchment compensation at the time of termination of his services. The termination is thus clearly erroneous and no interference is warranted in the order of the Labour Court in that regard.

Advocate R.V. Paranjpe represented the petitioner, while Advocate Shafi Kazi appeared for the respondents.

The High Court remarked that “it is an admitted fact that no enquiry has been conducted before terminating the services of the Workman.

The Court then explained that the workman had pleaded in his Statement of Claim about change of contractors and continuance of his services. It was established that the workman had continued his service without any break despite the change of several contractors. Moreover, the initial appointment of the workman was made by the Hotel itself.

The Court pointed out that two warning letters were issued by the Hotel to the workman. “The show cause notices show that (i) hotel used to take disciplinary action against the Workman, (ii) they show supervision and control over the activities of Workman by the hotel, (iii) the Workman was being granted leave by the hotel.”

The Court held that there was an employer-employee relationship between the Hotel and the workman

The Court modified the Order of the labour court and ordered a lumpsum compensation of Rs. 25,00,000/- in lieu of reinstatement and backwages.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the writ petition.

Cause Title: M/s. Chalet Hotels Ltd. v. Mr. Bhikan Laxman Deoka & Anr. (2024:BHC-AS:4386)


Petitioner: Advocates R.V. Paranjpe and T.R. Yadav

Respondents: Advocates Shafi Kazi and Anirudha Lad

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