The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) at Tiruchirappalli to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to an employee, who was dismissed from service for unauthorised absence for 78 days in 1997.
Justice V M Velumani, allowing a petition filed by the employee Vinothraj, said yesterday that the punishment was not proportionate to the mistake committed by the employee and hence she was awarding compensation. Besides, the petitioner had attained superannuation age and could not be reinstated.
Vinothraj had joined BHEL in 1977 as semi-skilled worker and got demoted on Jul 8,1983 on the charge of unauthorised absence for 111 days.
The petitioner produced a medical certificate, but the employer accepted it only for 33 days of absence. The remaining period was considered as unauthorised absence and domestic enquiry was held in which he was found guilty.
Later on July 4, 1997, he was dismissed from service.
His appeal was also dismissed. Then he raised an industrial dispute before the Labour Court which confirmed the dismissal order accepting the employer’s contention that the production work got affected due to petitioner’s unauthorised absence.
He approached the High Court when he was 55 years old challenging the Labour Court order on the ground that it was unfair to accept a medical certificate only for a part of the period when he was absent.
Justice Velumani said dismissal from service was an excessive and not a proportionate punishment for the charge levelled and reportedly proved against the petitioner especially when he had served the organisation for more than two decades.