HC upholds action against officer for hiring casual workers

The Bombay High Court has rejected a petition filed by an electrical engineer of Western Railway challenging a CAT order.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has rejected a petition filed by an electrical engineer of Western Railway challenging a CAT order which upheld departmental action to stop his increments for two years for engaging 65 casual labourers without permission.

"Taking a note of the fact that the petitioner himself has admitted that he had engaged casual labourers despite a ban imposed by the Railway Board, we find that the penalty imposed is just and proper in the circumstances of the case," observed Justices F M Reis and V M Kanade on May 8.

"We find that the fact finding authority has on sufficient evidence found that charges against the petitioner are proved and the Disciplinary Authority and Appellate Authority and the learned Tribunal have also found it proper to accept these findings," the judges noted.

"Suffice it to say that nothing is available before this court to conclude that the decision making process or the procedure followed by the authorities are in any way defective," the judges further said.

"Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, we find that there is no illegality committed by authorities whilst disposing the proceedings against the petitioner and as such the above petition stands rejected," the bench observed.

The court was hearing a petition filed by R C Dahore, divisional electrical engineer working with Western Railway and now posted in Mumbai. He had urged for a direction to set aside the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) ruling delivered on November 2, 1999.

At the relevant time, the petitioner was working in Baroda-Godhra section of the Western Railway. The Railway had undertaken Godhra-Anand Electrification work and from August 1981 to April 1983 casual labours were engaged for carrying out the work for the project.

However, the Railways claimed that they had issued a circular in 1981, saying that casual labourers should not be engaged. The petitioner claimed that he was not aware about this circular.

He argued that some other officers had engaged casual labourers and he was not involved in doing so. However, later during the course of hearing in CAT he accepted having engaged casual labourers in the interest of Railway.