Employee canít be sacked for offences outside office, says High Court M Sagar Kumar | TNN
Hyderabad: A US multi national company (MNC) has got a taste of Indian justice for an act of highhandedness. Stating that leading computer manufacturer Dell cannot pass judgments on incidents that occur outside the companyís premises, the A P High Court has set aside the termination notice the company served on its director (IT) and directed it to pay the salary of the employee till the disposal of the case he filed in the civil court against the termination.
The division bench comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Tamada Gopalakrishna made this order on Friday after hearing Rajendran Chingaravelu, IT director of M/s Dell International Services India Ltd, who challenged the termination notice over a trivial parking dispute with the companyís security guard that took place on the main road outside the company gate.
The facts of the case are as follows. Rajendran, who joined the company as its IT director on July 6, 2009, was placed under suspension on December 28 of the same year following a complaint by the security head of the company over an alleged parking tussle involving the petitioner.
On December 31, the petitioner was served with a show cause notice asking him to explain why his services should not be terminated for his alleged violation of the companyís code of conduct. The petitioner submitted his explanation and the company, not satisfied with it, terminated his services on January 6, 2010.
When Rajendran first challenged this order in the high court, a single judge held that the petitioner cannot invoke the provisions of Article 226 of the Constitution in this case as the company which terminated him does not fall under the definition of a state and that it is a mere company and not even an entity created by any statute, and advised the petitioner to seek appropriate legal remedy elsewhere.
Rajendran then approached the civil court concerned seeking relief. But the civil court refused to give any interim relief on the ground that it saw no violation of the principles of natural justice in the process followed by the company.
Aggrieved by this order, Rajendran again knocked the doors of the high court with a civil miscellaneous petition against the civil court order. The matter came to the bench headed by Justice Meena Kumari that found Dellís behaviour in the case as untenable. It held that the company has no jurisdiction to take cognisance of an incident that happened outside its premises.
Terming the parking tussle as a petty offence (even if assumed that the petitioner was on the wrong side), the bench said that the company cannot impose the extreme punishment of terminating the employee.
The bench wondered whether it is the intention of the company to send a message to its employees that they too would meet the same fate if they did not abide by its diktats.
The bench made it clear that the company cannot give licence to its security personnel to attack its employees. It should take the help of police if its employees are involved in any offences outside its premises, the court said. 3rd January 2011 From India, Hyderabad