Panawal Korale Multi-purpose Go-operative Societies Union Ltd.,
Eheliyagoda v. Herath
1971Present: Wljayatllake, J.,
PANAWAL KORALE MULTI-PURPOSE CO-OPERATIVE.SOCIETIES UNION LTD., EHELIYAGODA, Appellant, and
P.R. HERATH, Respondent
8. C. 104/70—Labour Tribunal Case RJ2191Industrial dispute—Misconduct of workman—Punishment inflicted on him aftera domestic inquiry—Whether he can be punished again, ajter an interval, forthe same misconduct.
After a domestic inquiry was held in regard to the misconduct of a workman,the workman was punished but was allowed to continue in employment. Nearlytwo years later the workman was dismissed on the ground that the employerwas not satisfied with the decision taken at the domestio inquiry andthe quantum of punishment inflicted on the workman.
Held, that the order of dismissal from service was neither just nor equitable.It is a well known principle that no man can bo punished twice for the sameoffence.
* (1954) 56 N. L. R. 243.
WIJAYATILAKE, J.—Panawal Korale Multi-purpose Co-operative Societies 69
Union Ltd., Eheliyagoda v. Herat h
Appeal from an order of a Labour Tribunal.
N. D. Jayasuriya, with C. SithamparapiUai, for the employer-appellant.
K.Vaikunthavasan, for the applicant-respondent.
July 20, 1971. Wuayatilake, J.—
It would appear that the applicant was appointed as temporary managerof the Textile Department of the Appellant Society on the 24th of April,1964. Thereafter, during tho period 24th August, 1964 to 23rdSeptember, 1964, it is alleged that tho applicant had sold to privatetraders stocks of khaki and blue drill without obtaining the prior sanctionof the management. A domestic inquiry had been held in regard to theallegation and the President of the Co-operative Societies had informedthe applicant by his letter produced marked R 24 dated 20.10.1964 thata total sum of Rs. 991 /20 should be paid by the applicant to the society inrespect of this transaction. The applicant has also been informed by thisletter that the confirmation at the end of his two years’ service has alsobeen extended for another six months. The applicant had paid thissum of money and not questioned in any way the Order made by theCommittee.
Thereafter, nearly two years later on the 12th of November, 1966, thoDeputy Commissioner of Co-operative Development, Kegallo by his letterR 28, has informed the Divisional Inspector of Co-operative Developmentwho is tho President of this Society, that he is not satisfied with thedecision taken by the Committee in the matter and the punishmentinflicted on him. He further states that he has received orders from theRegistrar/Commissioner of Co-operative Development to instruct theCommittee to dismiss the employee from service. He adds that inaccordance with this he anticipates necessary action and to report thesituation. -The appollant Society had accordingly terminated theservices of the applicant on 26.11.1966. On application made to theLabour Tribunal, the learned President ordered that the applicant bere-employed.
Mr. Jayasuriya, learned Counsel for the appellant Society, submitsthat the learned President has misdirected himself in regard to the powersof tho Deputy Commissioner in this transaction, and thereby he haswrongfully held in favour of the applicant. As it appears to me, thefacts in this case give rise to a question of fundamental importance. Theapplicant, who had to face a domestic inquiry in October, 1964 had beendealt with and he had complied with the Order of the Committee withoutquostion. In these circumstances, would it be just and equitable for aRegistrar or Commissioner of Co-operative Development to reagitate
Fernando v. Maglin Bamine
the matter after a period of two years and seek to impose a furtherpenalty ? Mr. Jayasuriya very strenuously submits that in the Ordermade by the Committee there was no penalty as such and that it wastantamount to the collection of a oivil debt. He relies on the SouthAfrican case reported in 1914-25 Natal Report 413, where it was heldthat the collection of a civil debt is no bar to criminal proceedings. Inmy opinion, that case can be clearly distinguished from the facts in thepresent transaction. In fact in the letter R 28, the Deputy Commissionerhimself has understood the earlier order of the Committee as a punishment,and he has so stated in this letter. The fact that the confirmation atthe end of two years has been extended by a period of 6 months wouldamount to a penalty as it is in addition to the collection of the civil debtMr. Jayasuriya has stressed. It is a well known principle that no mancan be punished twice for the same offence. This is just what theemployer has sought to do and that too after a period of over two years.In the light of these observations, in my opinion neither the Registrar northe Commissioner of Co-operative Society had the power to pursue thismatter ; so that any order amounting to a penalty by either of themwould be neither just nor equitable ; and the communication of thatOrder to the Committee would be of no avail. I would accordinglydismiss the appeal.
Mr. Vaikunthavasan has referred me to the Order of the learnedPresident where he has directed the workman to report for duty on 1.6.70upon certain conditions. It would appear that this workman had soreported, but the Society had refused to permit him to resume work.If so, in these circumstances, the workman would be entitled to theremuneration and other benefits he would ordinarily have received from,that date.
The appeal is dismissed with oosts fixed at Rs. 360.
PANAWAL KORALE MULTI-PURPOSE CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES UNION LTD., EHELIYAGODA, App