Dismissed railway employee gets justice after three decades!
New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) It took nearly three decades for Gyan Chand Chattar to get justice. Chattar, a cashier with Western Railway, was thrown out of his job for travelling first class in a train despite not being entitled. The Supreme Court has ordered the central government to pay 50 percent of his pay and allowances till the age of his retirement.
Empathising with the plight of the dismissed railway employee, a bench of Justice Mukundkam Sharma and Justice B.S. Chauhan said Thursday: “Today, the situation has become worse. About three decades have elapsed; Chattar has not been paid his salary since the date of his suspension on Nov 11, 1980.”
“It is in the interest of justice that his mental agony and harassment should come to an end,” the bench said.
The court directed the central government to “pay fifty percent of Chattar’s pay and allowances without interest till he reached the age of superannuation and arrears of his retiral benefits with nine percent interest to him within three months”.
The railway authorities had suspended Chattar in November 1980 and then dismissed him from service May 1981 following an enquiry. He was indicted for unauthorised travel in the First Class compartment and for playing cards with Railway Protection Force jawans while travelling, thus “acting extremely irresponsibly”.
But the appellate authority November 1981 reduced his punishment from dismissal to demotion to the post of clerk in a lower pay scale.
Chattar moved the Gujarat High Court in 1982. A single bench of the high court concluded that the railways had failed to prove all the charges against him and, accordingly, ordered it to impose only minor punishment on him.
The railways, however, moved a division bench of the high court against its single judge’s bench order in 1983.
The division bench took 20 years to decide the matter and finally in May 2003, set aside the order regarding imposition of minor penalty on Chattar and directed that he be paid 50 percent of the back-wages with all consequential benefits including retiral benefits.
The railway challenged the division bench verdict in the apex court, which said, “initiation of the enquiry against the respondent (Chattar) appears to be the outcome of anguish of superior officers as there had been agitation by the railway staff”.