5 Dec 2022 9:26 AM GMT
The Orissa High Court has clarified that a proceeding cannot be drawn for issuance of the writ of certiorari merely to challenge a finding of fact recorded by a Lower Court/Tribunal, on the ground that the material evidence adduced before the forum was 'insufficient' to sustain the finding. While placing reliance on the ruling of the Supreme Court in Syed Yakoob v. Radhakrishnan, ...
The Orissa High Court has clarified that a proceeding cannot be drawn for issuance of the writ of certiorari merely to challenge a finding of fact recorded by a Lower Court/Tribunal, on the ground that the material evidence adduced before the forum was 'insufficient' to sustain the finding.
While placing reliance on the ruling of the Supreme Court in Syed Yakoob v. Radhakrishnan, a Division Bench of Justices Arindam Sinha and Sanjay Kumar Mishra noted:
"…a writ of Certiorari can be issued if it is shown that in recording the said finding, the Tribunal had erroneously refused to admit admissible and material evidence, or had erroneously admitted inadmissible evidence, which has influenced the impugned finding. Similarly, if a finding of fact is based on no evidence, that would be regarded as an error of law, which can be corrected by a writ of Certiorari. The Court went on to say further that a finding of fact recorded by the Tribunal cannot be challenged in proceedings for a writ of Certiorari on the ground that the relevant and material evidence adduced before the Tribunal was insufficient or inadequate to sustain the impugned finding."
The impugned award was made by the Labour Court directing the petitioner-management to advance promotion of opposite party no. 2 (workman) as shall be effective on the date, on which one of his juniors was given promotion in different cadre of Dumper Operators. Further direction was made to provide the workman with all consequential financial benefits in the higher cadre from that date. Being aggrieved by the order, the management impugned the order seeking interference of the High Court.
Contentions of the Parties
S.D. Das, Senior Counsel for the petitioner pointed out that the workman was one of those employees who had less than qualifying marks having attendance less than 240 days, including authorized leave, and therefore, was not considered for promotion. He submitted that though this was good evidence in favour of his client but he was prevented from adducing the same before the Labour Court.
He drew attention of the Court to order sheet from the Lower Court Record (LCR), which shows that absence of his client on one day brought closure of evidence against it. The next day parties were not present because Presiding Officer (PO) was on leave. His client was not represented thereafter on the next date. Subsequently, on the following date, the impugned award was made. Thus, he sought interference through judicial review to enable his client to adduce evidence that was introduced by pleadings but could not be brought on record by aforesaid omission.
A. Mishra, advocate appearing for the workman, on the other hand, submitted that the order sheet of the Lower Court reveals that more than reasonable opportunity was given to the parties. On two occasions costs were imposed on the management for not having appeared. Though the costs were nominal yet the management did not pay same to his client.
After perusing the impugned award as well as the order sheet, the Court found that every opportunity was in fact given to the management. It noted, the Labour Court had the opportunity to peruse the pleading in the written statement and denial rendered by the rejoinder. It observed, the workman pleaded that there was no Department Promotion Committee (DPC) held in year 1993. The management also failed to adduce evidence to show that there was in fact a DPC that was held in the said year.
Thus, the Court concluded that there was, inter alia, an assertion of no DPC having been held and nothing in the materials on record to show otherwise. In such circumstances, it held, law allows for presumption of the fact that no DPC was held. Therefore, fault cannot be attributed to the Labour Court for having so presumed against the management and in favour of the workman.
Justice Sinha while speaking for the Bench also held that interference from the High Court cannot be sought through a writ of certiorari only to examine the adequacy or sufficiency of evidence adduced before the Lower Court, which formed the basis for the impugned order. While concluding, it quoted the following observation made in Syed Yakoob (supra):
"The adequacy or sufficiency of evidence led on a point and the inference of fact to be drawn from the said finding are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tribunal, and the said points cannot be agitated before a writ court."
Accordingly, the writ petition was dismissed.
Case Title: Project Officer, Bharatpur Open Cast Project of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. v. Darsani Kumar Sahoo & Anr.
Case No.: W.P.(C) No. 32377 of 2020
Judgment Dated: 2nd December 2022
Coram: Arindam Sinha & S.K. Mishra, JJ.
Judgment Authored By: Arindam Sinha, J.
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr. S.D. Das, Senior Advocate
Counsel for the Respondents: Mr. P.K. Parhi, Deputy Solicitor General; Mr. J. Nayak, Central Government Counsel; Mr. A. Mishra, Advocate
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ori) 159
Click Here To Read/Download Order