A Bench of the Supreme Court has held that, "The reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case, where termination/dismissal is found to be not in accordance with procedure prescribed under law." The Court, however, directed the Appellant employer to pay a lump sum amount of Rs.15 lakh to the workman by modifying the order issued by the High Court, which ordered the reinstatement of service.
The Bench found that there was no evidence on recorder for dismissal from service, "Though, there was strong suspicion, there was no acceptable evidence on record for dismissal of the workman. However, as the workman has worked only for a period of about six years and he has already attained the age of superannuation, it is a fit case for modification of the relief granted by the High Court."
Facts of the case
Order of dismissal of the Respondent workman, who was working as a Clerk–cum– Cashier, was passed by the Appellant Bank, alleging involvement of the workman in an incident relating to burning of Bank records, though he was not the prime accused. A witness examined in the disciplinary proceedings, had deposed that the prime accused and others assembled together on the date of the incident.
In the industrial dispute raised by the workman, the Industrial Tribunal found that though there was a strong suspicion, there was no sufficient evidence to prove misconduct to dismiss him from service. However, the Industrial Tribunal found that the Bank had lost confidence in the Respondent and ordered payment of monetary compensation of Rs.30,000/- in lieu of reinstatement.
When the said award was challenged before the Allahabad High Court by the workman, High Court found that suspicion, however high may be, can under no circumstances be held as a substitute to legal proof. While noting that the Appellant did not challenge the award passed by the Industrial Tribunal, the High Court allowed the Writ Petition by directing reinstatement of the workman with all consequential benefits.
The two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice Sanjiv Khanna found that though there was strong suspicion, there was no acceptable evidence on record for dismissal of the workman. However, as the workman had worked only for a period of about six years and he had already attained the age of superannuation, the Bench modified the relief granted by the High Court and directed payment of a lump sum compensation of Rs.15 lakhs to the Respondent workman.
Parties : Allahabad Bank & Ors. Vs. Krishan Pal Singh