CHENNAI: The Madras High Court directed the State government to issue a circular to all the transport corporations to initiate appropriate disciplinary action against officials, whom all are committing lapses, negligence and dereliction of duty, collusion, or corrupt activities in the matter of dealing with such disciplinary matters against the employees of the transport corporations across the State.
Justice SM Subramaniam passed the orders on dismissing a petition filed by Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC). The corporation prayed for a direction to quash the award of the Special Deputy Commissioner of Labour rejecting the approval petition recommending the government to dismiss an MTC bus conductor on charges of involvement in illegal activities.
KH Ravikumar, a government advocate representing the labor department submitted that the approval petition was dismissed on the ground that the department has failed to conduct a proper inquiry contemplated under Section 33(2)(B) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
However, the MTC submitted that officers who had handled the labor court case had failed to submit the inquiry details.
On hearing the submissions, the judge held that there are a large number of such disciplinary proceedings against the workmen who are irregularly dealt with by the officials of the Transport Corporation either willingly or on account of corrupt practices due to the collusion between the workmen and the officials.
“In this regard, an inquiry is to be conducted by the appropriate authority to cull out the manner through which the decisions are taken by the competent authority. In some cases, they allow the Labour Courts to pass orders, granting 100% back wages or for payment of 17(b) wages for a longer period without filing an appropriate application or petition before the competent Courts. All such cases are to be reviewed,” the judge noted.
The court impleaded the principal secretary for the transport department and directed the officer to issue circulars to all the transport corporations to take action against the delinquent officers.
“...when the Conductors and Drivers and the other workmen are committing certain misconducts, disciplinary proceedings are initiated immediately. However, no disciplinary proceedings or prosecutions are initiated in respect of such serious misconduct and offences committed by the higher officials of the transport corporations,” the judge held.