Labour court comes to rescue of dismissed BEST cleaner

Mumbai: In a relief to a cleaner employed with the BEST, who was dismissed from service in 2013 for working elsewhere while employed with the undertaking, a city labour court has declared the punishment meted out to him as harsh and ordered that he be reinstated in service.

The former employee had challenged the punishment meted out to him as well as the inquiry by the BEST itself. He had said that the conclusion arrived at by the BEST was not according to the evidence before it and was unduly harsh and unjust as other employees who had committed the same wrong had been given lighter punishments. He also complained that two of his appeals to the BEST had been summarily rejected, without much deliberation. Dinesh Kamble who had joined the undertaking’s service in 1995, claimed that the punishment was also harsh considering his service record.

The BEST, on its part, said to the court that it had made a proper inquiry and that Kamble was given adequate opportunity to present his case. The decision it took was as per rules, it said. The labour court did not go into the matter of whether the inquiry was unjust, as another labour court judgment of 2017 had found the inquiry proper and that the inquiry officer had not made a wrong decision.

Looking into the matter of whether the punishment was harsh with respect to the improper conduct, judge Kalyani Aadke said in her judgment that she will have to take into consideration his previous service record. “While punishments during the duration of service from 1995 onwards are for different misconducts, the punishments of suspension meted out are proper…The applicant had worked for 18 years, keeping the duration of service in mind, dismissal from service will cause him financial death.”

She declared the punishment harsh in respect of the misconduct on the employee’s part and asked the undertaking to reinstate him in service, though he would not get the salary of the period from 2013 onwards when he was dismissed.

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