Two of our employees involved in the episode of Fake 500 Rs. Note transactions and the police have interrogated them on custody for a few hours released them after the enquiry. The police filed FIR. It was told that one of the employees (A)who got the Rs.500 note from his co-worker (B) has given the said note at a petrol Bunk towards cost of the petrol. The Petrol Bunk personnel identified that the said Rs.500 note was a fake one and they immediately reported the same to the p0lice and the employee (A) was taken to police custody. The said employee (A) immediately contacted his co-worker (B)from whom he received the said Note of Rs.500 and the co-worker (B) was also rushed to Police station for interrogation. The co-worker (B) who deposed before the police that he received the Rs.500/- note from a lady who is a vegetable vendor in vegetable market. The Police have also taken that lady for interrogation. Finally, It was told by the workmen (A & B) that they were released by police with the firm advice that they would co-operate for further more interrogations, if any needed. The Police have also cautioned the employees that for this act of their commission of criminal offence, they will be fined by the court. The matter was published in daily news paper. The FIR copy has been submitted by the employees to the Management. My queries are -
1. Whether the disciplinary action initiated against the workmen for the said act of the workmen warrant any severe action, if the charges that to the extent of transaction of Fake Rs.500/- only is proved in the domestic enquiry ( The standing orders of the company is not included any misconducts committed by the employees outside the factory premises)
2. Whether the serious view taken by the Management is correct, even though the said acts of the employees are outside the purview of S.O. of the company.
3. The employees have not been prevented from attending to duty till date?
Request expert views to take forward further.
V Sridharan

From India, Mumbai
Before that, you can suspend these workers pending enquiry and pay half wages as per act.
What the decision taken by the Management in conducting domestic enquiry on the charges of moral turpitude is correct and you can impose dismissal of service as a punishment for these workmen.

From India, New Delhi
Sorry to differ with the view of Mr.Kumar.
The offence relating to using as genuine, forged or counterfeit currency-notes or bank notes comes u/s 489-B of the Indian Penal Code,1860. There are several judgments of the various High Courts and the Supreme Court of India deciding in favour of the accused on the ground of absence of mens rea or guilty intention. One such important judgment by the Supreme Court is Umashankar v State of Chattisgarh. In its judgment the Supreme Court categorically held that the provisions of sections 489-A to 489-E which deal with various economic offences in respect of forged or counterfeit currency notes or bank notes are not meant to punish unweary possessors or users in day to day commercial transactions. In a case decided on 01-10-2018 viz., Sanskriti Jayantilal Salia v. the State of Maharashtra, following the rule laid down by the Apex Court in Umashankar's and other cases, the High Court of Bombay held that when mens rea is conspicuosly absent in an offence u/s 489-B, the burden of proof is on the prosecution only.
So, dear Sridharan, impress upon your management not to act in unnecessary haste. Since the employees had honestly informed you of the entire episode with the FIR copy just call for a formal explanation from the employees for the sake of record and await the outcome of the criminal case,if any to be instituted by the Police in this regard. The case may take years. So ask them to report the stage of the case then and there. On the contrary, if you initiate parallel departmental disciplinary action by placing them under under suspension now, you will have to pay them subsistence allowance till the disposal of the departmental proceedings. If they are acquitted in the criminal case, the likelihood of which is certain, you will have to revoke any punishment you are likely to award in your disciplinary proceedings, you will have to pay them full back wages with all attendant benefits.

From India, Salem

My inference from the post of Mr.Sridharan is that the 2 employees have not deliberately involved in the fake note transaction, but unexpectedly the fake note reached the hands of the employees. Police interrogations are also held and the entire matter with supportings are also reported to Management. Thus their integrity need not be doubtful. Keeping this in view you can proceed in the matter.
I also endorse the views made by Mr.Umakanthan.

From India, Aizawl
Dear Sridharan,
Police interrogation or filing FIR does not make anyone guilty. Indian jurisprudence work as per the principle of home prasumitur bonus donec probetur malus. It means one is innocent until proven guilty.
The incident has happened out of your company premises. It has nothing to do with the job for which you have employed the employees. Therefore, let the court decide whether the employee is guilty or not. What if the court acquits the employee?
Just look at the Indian legislators. About third of the legislators carry serious charges of murder, arson, rape etc. Nevertheless, the Indian constitution allows them to contest the elections. They get elected and these very tainted legislators make laws for us! In that case in what way those two employees are bothering your company? Click the following link to refer to the news of the sitting MPs:
What has happened is their personal matter. Let it remain. Let your company not get into the personal affairs of the employees. Concentrate on business, concentrate on the customers, concentrate on the competitors that is all.
Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
I express my sincere thanks to Sri Umakanthan Sir, Sri RKN61 and Mr Dinesh Divekar for sharing the different views and the same are much helpful to me to apprise the Management. It has been suggested to the Management that they can keep the disciplinary proceedings pending till the outcome of the pending criminal case against the said workmen.
V Sridharan

From India, Mumbai

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