The Management Of Nwkrtc vs Gangaramsingh S/O. Satyanarayan … on 19 February, 2024

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Karnataka High Court

The Management Of Nwkrtc vs Gangaramsingh S/O. Satyanarayan … on 19 February, 2024

Author: S G Pandit

Bench: S G Pandit

                                                 -1-
                                                                W.A.No.100654/2017



                       IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA, DHARWAD BENCH

                              DATED THIS THE 19th DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2024

                                              PRESENT

                                THE HON'BLE MR JUSTICE S G PANDIT

                                                AND

                                THE HON'BLE MR JUSTICE K V ARAVIND

                                   WRIT APPEAL NO.100654 OF 2017

                      BETWEEN
KM
SOMASHEKAR

Digitally signed by
                      THE MANAGEMENT OF NWKRTC
KM
SOMASHEKAR            BELGAUM DIVISION, REPRESENTED BY ITS
Date: 2024.02.20
10:39:50 +0530        DIVISIONAL CONTROLLER BELAGAVI,
                      BELAGAVI.
                      THE APPELLANT IS REPRESENTED BY THE
                      CHIEF LAW OFFICER, CENTRAL OFFICE,
                      GOKUL ROAD, HUBBALLI-580030.
                                                                   ...APPELLANT
                      (BY SMT. SUNITHA P. KALASOOR, ADVOCATE)

                      AND

                      GANGARAMSINGH
                      S/O. SATYANARAYAN VIJAPUR
                      AGE: 42 YEARS, OCC: NIL,
                      R/O.RAJAPUTGALLI, TALIKOTI,
                      TQ:MUDDEBHIHAL, DIST:VIJAYAPUR.

                                                                ...RESPONDENTS
                      (BY SMT. KALPANA T.M., ADVOCATE)

                           THIS WRIT APPEAL IS FILED U/S.4 OF KARNATAKA HIGH
                      COURT ACT, PRAYING TO, ALLOW THIS APPEAL AND SET ASIDE
                      THE ORDER DATED 20.02.2017 PASSED IN W.P. NO.
                      100491/2015 (L-KSRTC) AS PRAYED FOR IN THE INTEREST OF
                      JUSTICE AND EQUITY.

                             THIS WRIT APPEAL HAVING BEEN HEARD AND RESERVED
                      ON    13.02.2024 COMING ON FOR PRONOUNCEMENT OF
                               -2-
                                              W.A.No.100654/2017



JUDGMENT, THIS DAY, S.G. PANDIT, J., DELIVERED THE
FOLLOWING:

                       JUDGMENT

This intra-court appeal is against the order dated

20.02.2017 passed in W.P. No.100491/2015 by which

the writ petition filed by the appellant, management of

North-West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation,

challenging the award of the Labour Court, Hubballi, in

KID No.30/2013 dated 10.02.2014 is rejected.

2. Heard learned counsel Smt. Sunitha

P.Kalasoor, for the appellant-NWKRTC, and Smt. Kalpana

T.M., learned counsel for the respondent-workman.

3. Before the learned Single Judge, in the writ

petition, the appellant-NWKRTC was the petitioner and

the respondent was the respondent. The parties would be

referred to as they stand before the Writ Court.

4. The brief facts of the case are that,

(a) The respondent-workman was appointed as a Job

Trainee Driver-cum-Conductor at Haveri Division on

temporary basis. Subsequently, on 19.03.2010, he
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W.A.No.100654/2017

was transferred to Belgaum Division. A show-cause

notice dated 26.11.2011 was issued to the

respondent-workman alleging absence from duty

from 11.08.2011 to 23.12.2011 without applying

leave or without prior permission of the higher

authorities. The respondent-workman denied the

charges. Not being satisfied with the reply, the

petitioner-management appointed an Inquiry Officer

to conduct Inquiry. The Inquiry Officer conducted

Inquiry in terms of C & D Regulations, and submitted

his Report on 04.08.2012 holding that the charges

levelled against the respondent-workman are

proved. The second show-cause notice, along with

Inquiry Report, was issued to the workman on

14.08.2012. Thereafter, considering the material on

record, the petitioner-management is said to have

passed order dated 05.12.2012 removing the

respondent-workman from service.

(b) Challenging the order of removal, dated 05.12.2023,

the respondent-workman approached the Labour
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W.A.No.100654/2017

Court, Hubballi, in KID No.30/2013. The Labour

Court, under the impugned order dated 10.02.2014,

allowed the dispute in part directing reinstatement of

the respondent-workman into service without

backwages and with continuity of service.

(c) Challenging the said award dated 10.02.2014 in KID

No.30/2013, the petitioner-management filed writ

petition No.100491/2015. The learned Single Judge

of this Court by order dated 20.02.2017 dismissed

the writ petition holding that since the order was

only for reinstatement without backwages with

continuity of service, and further observing that the

reasons assigned by the Labour Court are sound and

proper. Against the award of the Labour Court as

well as the order of the learned Single Judge, the

present appeal is presented.

5. Learned counsel, Smt. Sunitha P.Kalasoor for

the petitioner-NWKRTC would mainly contend that the

Labour Court failed to appreciate the fact that the

respondent-workman was a Job Trainee Driver-cum-
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W.A.No.100654/2017

Conductor and he would not be an ’employee’ of the

petitioner-NWKRTC/management. Therefore, it is

submitted that the Labour Court ought not to have

entertained the dispute. When a Job Trainee Driver-cum-

Conductor is not a Corporation servant and when he

cannot be called as a workman, respondent-workman

would not be entitled for any relief. In that regard,

learned counsel would place reliance on the judgment

passed by a Co-ordinate Benchy of this Court in Writ

Appeal No.100383/2014 dated 15.10.2014 as well as

W.A. No.100556/2015 dated 02.08.2021. Further, the

learned counsel for the petitioner-management would

contend that when the charges are held to be proved, the

Labour Court ought not to have interfered with the order

of punishment of removal. It is submitted that the Labour

Court without giving any finding and when the enquiry

conducted by the management was held to be fair and

proper, the Labour Court committed a grave error in

allowing the dispute. Thus, it is prayed for allowing the

writ appeal.

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W.A.No.100654/2017

6. Per contra, learned counsel Smt. Kalpana

T.M., for the respondent-workman would support the

order passed by the learned Single Judge as well as the

award passed by the Labour Court. It is submitted that

the contention that the respondent-workman is a Job

Trainee Driver-cum-Conductor is raised for the first time

in the appeal and the said contention was not raised

either before the learned Single Judge or before the

Labour Court. Therefore, she prays for rejection of the

said contention and to dismiss the appeal.

7. Having heard the learned counsels for the

parties and on perusal of the writ appeal papers, the only

point which falls for consideration in this appeal is,

Whether the order passed by the
learned Single Judge as well as the award
passed by the Labour Court requires
interference?

8. The answer to the above point would be in the

affirmative and it requires interference for the following

reasons:

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W.A.No.100654/2017

(a) A perusal of the impugned award would make it

abundantly clear that it is the case of the

respondent-workman that he was appointed as a Job

Trainee Driver-cum-Conductor at Haveri Division,

and subsequently, he was transferred from Haveri

Division to Belagavi Division. The Labour Court in the

course of its order refers to respondent-workman as

a Job Trainee Driver-cum-Conductor. The award of

the Labour Court also makes it clear that the

petitioner, in its objection, stated that the

respondent-workman is a Job Trainee Driver-cum-

Conductor, as could be seen from paragraph 3 of the

Award of the Labour Court. Thus, it cannot be

contended that the petitioner-management had not

taken the contention that the respondent-workman

was a Job Trainee Driver-cum-Conductor.

(b) Without going into any other issue, it would be

sufficient to refer to the decision of a co-ordinate

Bench of this Court in the case of Hanumanth

Ramanna Bajantri Vs. the North West Karnataka
-8-
W.A.No.100654/2017

Road Transport Corporation (W.A. No.100556/2015,

disposed of on 02.08.2021), wherein, in an identical

fact-situation, the co-ordinate Bench, at paragraphs

11, 12 & 13, has held as follows:

“11. Though the learned counsel for
the appellant contended that in view of the
definition of ‘workman’ under Section 2 (s) of
the Act, the reference before the Labour
Court was maintainable; a plain reading of
the training order dated 09.12.1996
selecting him as a ‘trainee conductor’ on
temporary basis and deputing him to
undergo training for a period of two years
subject to certain conditions, leave no room
for doubt that he had not been appointed on
permanent basis in the services of the
Corporation. It was only after completion of
satisfactory training, he could have been
considered for appointment provided there is
a vacant post and he being found suitable by
the recruitment committee as contemplated
under Regulation 12 of the Karnataka State
Road Transport Corporation (Cadre and
Recruitment Regulations), 1982, which reads
as under:

“12. Training

1) The candidate who is selected by
the Selection Authority and whose
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W.A.No.100654/2017

name is placed in the select list of
candidates is liable to be called upon to
undergo such training on such terms
and condition for such categories of
post as may be prescribed by the
Corporation before his appointment on
probation.

2) Any candidate who fails to report
for the training prescribed in Sub-

Regulation (1) or who fails to
SATISFACTORILY COMPLETE such
Training will forfeit his claim for
appointment to the post for which he is
placed on the select list.”

12. Admittedly, in the present case,
even before completion of the training
period, the appellant had involved himself in
misconduct of not issuing tickets to 14
passengers of Rs.3.50/- each. Apart from
this, it is submitted by learned counsel for
the respondent/Corporation that there were
such other 32 cases of not issuing tickets
and not collecting fare, out of which 25 cases
came to be closed imposing minor penalty on
the appellant and still 7 cases are pending.
The ‘training order’ clearly stipulates that no
right had been vested on the appellant for
appointment to a permanent post.

13. A division bench of this Court
while considering an identical issue in
W.A.No.100369/2014 disposed of on
18.08.2014 (Santosh K.Menasinkai Vs. the

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W.A.No.100654/2017

Management of NEKRTC), held that a trainee
is not a ‘corporation servant’. The said order
passed by the coordinate bench of this Court
is subsequently followed by a Division Bench
of this Court in W.A.No.100383/2014
disposed of on 15.10.2014 (The Management
of NEKRTC Vs. Raju S.Jaydi), which was the
subject before the Hon’ble Supreme Court in
SLP 11117/2015. The Hon’ble Supreme
Court by its order dated 31.07.2017
dismissed the said SLP and the same has
reached its finality. Once the appellant was
selected on a temporary basis as a ‘trainee
conductor’ and was deputed to undergo
training for a period of two years and during
the training period, he has been removed
from select list, he cannot be considered as
‘Corporation Servant’ since a corporation
servant would not come under the definition
of ‘workman’ as stipulated under the
provisions of Section 2 (s) of the Act as
contended by the learned counsel for the
appellant. Therefore, the award passed by
the Labour Court directing reinstatement of
the appellant into the post held by him with
all consequential benefits, suffers from error
apparent on the face of the record and it
cannot be sustained. The learned Judge
considering the dictum of the coordinate
bench of this Court has rightly held that the

– 11 –

W.A.No.100654/2017

appellant being a ‘trainee conductor’ was not
a ‘Corporation Servant’ and rightly set aside
the order passed by the Labour Court by
allowing the writ petition filed by the
Corporation.

The above judgment aptly applies to the facts of the

present case.

(c) Moreover, the allegation and the charge against the

respondent-workman is that he had remained absent

without applying leave or without prior permission of

the higher authorities. The said charge is proved

before the Inquiry Officer. When the charges are

proved, and when the Labour Court held the

preliminary issue i.e., whether the enquiry is fair and

proper, in favour of the petitioner-management, it

could not have come to the conclusion that the

petitioner-management failed to prove the charges

levelled against the respondent-workman. On the

other hand, there is no material to show that the

respondent-workman had applied leave or taken

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W.A.No.100654/2017

prior permission when he remained absent during

11.08.2011 to 23.12.2011.

9. For the reasons recorded above, we pass the

following:

ORDER

i) The writ appeal is allowed.

ii) The impugned order dated 20.02.2017
passed in W.P. No.100491/2015 is set
aside. Consequently, the award dated

10.02.2014 passed in KID No.30/2013
passed by the Additional Labour Court,
Hubballi, is also set aside.

Sd/-

JUDGE

Sd/-

JUDGE

KMS

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