NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court refused to give any relief to a conductor, whose job was terminated by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) for not issuing tickets to 78 passengers while he collected fare worth Rs 1,638 in 1990.
A vacation Bench of Justices A K Goel and A M Khanwilkar quashed the 19-year-old order of the labour court, which directed to reinstate the conductor along with the entire back wages and said, “What was alleged against the workman is that he had collected fare from 78 passengers and did not issue the tickets to them, which amounted to criminal breach of trust. Once such a misconduct is proved, reinstating the workman could not be justified.” “The apex court refuses to accept the contention raised by the labour court in its 1997 order of directing reinstatement of conductor,” it added.
The conductor Pradeep Kumar was employed with UPSRTC since 1988 and in 1990, while inspection was going on it was found that the 78 passengers were travelling without ticket while the fare had already been collected by him. The enquiry was conducted and he was suspended thereafter and later on terminated. “The petitioner was appointed as a conductor and is holding a position of trust. If people like him started misappropriating the money by not issuing the ticket and pocketing the money thereby causing loss to the corporation then it is a serious misconduct,” the court observed, adding that Pradeep had started indulging in malpractices in his first year of service itself.
“If this is the state of affairs in first year and if such persons are let off with a light punishment then this will be a wrong signal to the other persons similarly situated. All the state corporations in the country have gone in the red because of the misconduct of such kind of incumbents,” the court said.
Feeling aggrieved, the conductor had moved the labour court which ruled that the punishment awarded was too severe. UPSRTC then moved the High Court.