Necessary to give opportunity to employer for producing evidence and proving alleged misconduct of the employee - Supreme Court

15 Mar 2018

In the recent judgment of Kurukshetra University V/s Prithvi Singh[1] wherein the respondent i.e. Prithvi Singh was Security personnel of the Petitioner University and was working as daily rated employee.  Herein the respondent was alleged to have done misbehavior with a lady, and as a punishment after completion of due domestic inquiry he was terminated. Thus, initially the case came to Labor Court wherein the Court held that, it was the case of illegal retrenchment and set aside the respondent’s order as illegal.

The appellant felt aggrieved and filed writ petition in the High Court wherein the High Court dismissed the writ petition filed by the appellant and upheld the award of Labor Court. Thereafter, against the judgment of High Court the appellant filed Special Leave Petition. Supreme Court allowed the petition and set aside the order of High Court and award of Labor Court. Herein various judgments were quoted and on the basis of the same the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that Labor Court committed error in not framing preliminary issue for deciding legality of domestic enquiry. Moreover, it was also observed that, Labor Court done another error that it did not allow the appellant to lead independent evidence to prove the misconduct on merits and straight away proceeded to hold that it was a case of illegal retrenchment. SC also directed to obliterate the word “retrenchment” as the result of domestic enquiry was in a way of punishment, and hence the Labor Court made error in interpreting the word retrenchment.

Thus, in the aforementioned finding as outcome, the Supreme Court allowed the petition and the case was remanded back to the Labor Court with the directions to provide opportunity to employer to produce evidence to prove misconduct of the employee.

[1] 2018 SCCOnLine SC 119

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