BENGALURU: A 49-year-old Assistant Sales Officer (ASO) with the state-owned Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (KSIC) has won a legal battle against the company. Interestingly, the officer Y N Krishna Murthy won the battle by arguing the case on his own in the Karnataka High Court and succeeded in the fifth round of litigation too. Although on numerous occasions termination orders were passed since 1994, each time the high court set aside the orders.
In the latest case, the court came down heavily on KSIC as it had gone hammer and tongs to get rid of him by removing him from service in violation of rules. In the judgment dated September 20, Justice Raghvendra S Chauhan directed KSIC to reinstate Krishna Murthy and also said that he is entitled to continuity in service and consequential benefits. However, as Krishna Murthy has not been in service for the last five years, he shall be entitled to only 50 percent of his back wages, the judge said.
“Since Krishna Murthy has been victimised for a number of years, KSIC and its Chairman and Managing Director are directed to pay a cost of `25,000 to him for the pain and agony caused, and the victimisation suffered by him. But it is also made abundantly clear that KSIC is free to hold a departmental enquiry against him, if necessary. But it should be strictly in accordance with the procedures established by law,” the judge said.
“Though KSIC and its CMD are supposed to act as a model employer, they are behaving unfairly, unjustly and unreasonably with the petitioner. Even if they claim that the petitioner is a bad employee, the procedure of law cannot be violated and the petitioner cannot be removed from his service by colourable exercise of power. Hence, the removal order is clearly illegal,” the judge said.
On giving vague, ambiguous and unclear reasons for removal of the petitioner, the judge observed that undoubtedly, the charge-sheet is the foundation of the department’s case against the delinquent employee. Since the foundation is so weak, the vague charge-sheet in the case has vitiated the entire departmental enquiry, the judge said.
While recollecting the earlier round of litigation, the judge said the court had noticed that KSIC and its CMD were trying to get rid of the petitioner in violation of the law. Thus, they are repeatedly victimising the petitioner. The Appellate Authority of KSIC has ignored the fact that even the charge-sheet did not meet the requirement of law. Hence, the Authority has failed to apply a judicious mind, the judge said.
Trauma faced by petitioner
Y N Krishna Murthy was appointed as an Assistant Sales Officer by KSIC, Bengaluru, on September 11, 1987. His probationary period was extended till 1994 but it was not declared, alleging lack of satisfactory performance and other vague charges. He was terminated from service in March 1994, August 1997, March, 2006 and on July 11, 2012.