'Trainee conductor not workman under Disputes Act'

Trainee conductor not a workman under Industrial Disputes Act: Karnataka HC

A division bench made this observation while dismissing the appeal filed by a former trainee conductor of NWKRTC challenging a removal order

Karnataka High Court. Credit: DH file photo

The High Court has said that a trainee conductor on a temporary basis cannot be considered as a workman under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act.

A division bench made this observation while dismissing the appeal filed by a former trainee conductor of NWKRTC challenging the removal order passed during his two-year training period.

The appellant was removed on November 20, 2001, after he was found guilty of charges for not issuing tickets to 14 passengers in 1999. A Labour court had ordered his reinstatement with back wages, while the single-judge bench set aside this order and upheld the removal.

The former trainee conductor claimed that he had completed 240 days in the corporation, preceding the date of his termination, and hence attained the status of “permanent employee’.

He also contended that he is entitled to the benefit under Section 25 B of Industrial Disputes Act. The corporation had also claimed that the appellant was involved in 32 such cases of not issuing the tickets.

“A plain reading of the training order dated December 9, 1996, selecting him as a ‘trainee conductor’ on temporary basis and deputing him to undergo training for a period of two years subject to certain conditions, leave no room for doubt that he had not been appointed on permanent basis in the services of the Corporation.

It was only after completion of satisfactory training, he could have been considered for appointment provided there is a vacant post and he being found suitable by the recruitment committee as contemplated under regulation 12 of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (Cadre and Recruitment Regulations), 1982,” a division bench headed by Justice B Veerappa said.

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