Observing that the High Court cannot substitute the punishment awarded by the disciplinary authority, the Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal of an Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSTRC) employee held guilty of misconduct.
Allowing an appeal filed by the Corporation against the orders of reinstatement passed by the tribunal and the Allahabad High Court, the apex court said it was a settled principle that commission of a criminal breach of trust by a person holding a position of trust is a misconduct of serious nature.
The employee, Ram Kishan Arora, who working as a conductor with the Corporation, was removed from service on November 7, 1997, after the disciplinary authority held him guilty of collecting fares from 35 passengers without issuing tickets.
The misconduct was noted during a surprise check conducted by senior officers of the Corporation who were also reportedly abused and prevented from discharging their duties by the errant conductor.
But the labour tribunal held that departmental proceedings were perverse as the inquiry report was submitted by an officer R K Guptam whereas, the probe was conducted by another officer by name TK Vishen. The tribunal directed the management to reinstate the employee with full back wages.
On an appeal, the High Court, while observing that the employee's behaviour was "shocking", however, upheld the tribunal's order of reinstatement, but ordered stoppage of two increments of the erring employee.
The Coporation then filed the appeal challenging the orders for reinstatement.