STREET LEGAL 17-01-2007

Dismissal order Child labour laws Appeal backfires

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 17.01.07

Dismissal order

A temporary employee was sacked because he asked for a bribe to help a person get a favourable pension order. The man challenged his dismissal in the high court, contending that the employer should have held an enquiry before terminating him. When he lost the case in the high court, he appealed before the Supreme Court. The apex court set aside the dismissal, holding that even if a temporary employee is accused of graft charges, the Union of India has to first hold an enquiry before taking any steps against him (Hari Ram Maurya vs Union of India and others).

Child labour laws

A government labour inspector concluded that children working at a construction site were below 14 years of age and ordered the employer to deposit Rs 20,000 with the child labour rehabilitation and welfare fund, according to the provisions of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act. The employer produced documents certifying that the children were above 14. The high court ruled that the certificates were unreliable. The man approached the Supreme Court, which pointed out that the Act says that in case of a difference in opinion about age, the matter must be referred to the prescribed medical authority. It held that the inspector did not have the competence to decide the matter and quashed the order (Anant Construction Co. vs Government labour inspector).

Appeal backfires

The accused tied up, assaulted and poured acid on a man who owed him money, leading to the amputation of both his hands. The court sentenced him to one month’s simple imprisonment under Section 342 of the IPC (wrongful confinement) and fined him Rs 2,000 under Section 326 (causing grievous harm by dangerous weapon). The accused appealed in the Karnataka High Court, pointing out various lapses in the prosecution case like the victim not visiting a doctor after the attack and delay in lodging the FIR. The court ruled that the lapses must have been caused because the victim went into shock. The court also held that the trial judge had given a soft sentence. So it altered the punishment to a year’s rigorous imprisonment and increased the fine to Rs 1 lakh, to be paid as compensation to the victim (Ataulla vs State by K.G. Halli Police, Bangalore).