August 13, 2021 9:42:53 am
Past adverse records of an employee can be looked into, if only the present charge is proved, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Justice S Vaidyanathan gave the ruling recently while disposing of an appeal from the management of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Villupuram) Ltd in Kanchipuram, challenging the orders of the Special Joint Commissioner of Labour, which quashed an order of the corporation terminating the services of a driver for causing a fatal road accident.
The appeal sought to quash an order dated October 29, 2019 of the Labour Commissioner refusing to approve the termination order dated December 17, 2018 and consequently direct him to grant the approval of the dismissal order.
The judge noted that the Labour Commissioner had come to the conclusion that there was no evidence to support the charges against the driver, R Bakthavatsalam,. It had been contended by the Corporation the employee had committed two other accidents and suffered punishment.
The judge held the past records can be looked into, provided the present charge is proved. As the present charge is not proved, there is no need to look into the past records at all, the judge said and ordered his reinstatement from August 16.
As buses did not ply from March 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Corporation need not pay the back wages to the driver from the date of his dismissal till August 15. However, for the period from December 17, 2018 to August 15, 2021, the Transport Corporation shall pay the EPF contribution due to the driver, the judge said.
The Provident Fund of the employee and the employer shall be paid by the Transport Corporation without interest, within a period of four months, the judge added.
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