Madras High Court bench here has set aside a labour court’s directive to convert the dismissal order of a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation driver for ’reckless’ driving into that of a simple discharge from service.

Justice M. Venugopal said rash, reckless and negligent driving must be viewed seriously and the court must not show any leniency towards Government bus drivers who were dismissed from service for causing the death of one or more due to such irresponsible acts.

Allowing a petition filed by the TNSTC challenging the labour court’s order, the judge said “sympathising with such drivers will amount to encouraging wrong doers.” The labour court had ‘misdirected’ itself by interfering in the dismissal order passed by the TNSTC.

The TNSTC had taken the right action against the driver who was responsible for the death of one passenger and injuries to many others when he lost control of the vehicle and dashed it against a roadside tree at T. Pudupatti near here on December 8,1992.

The driver had claimed that he had no other go but to swerve the bus on the left and go off the road to avoid a cyclist who crossed the road suddenly when the bus attempted to overtake a bullock cart.

The Judge said, “without a piece of evidence, the driver’s explanation can only be construed to be a case of unilateral, uncorroborated and self serving one projected with a view to escape from the predicament that he is in and in short, the version projected by him is unworthy of acceptance in as much as the same lacks credence.” The official, who inspected the spot found that there was no evidence or indication to show that the driver applied sudden brake. The official had concluded that the accident had occurred due to rash driving. He also assessed the damage caused to the vehicle to be Rs. 40,000.

Holding that the charges against the delinquent driver had been proved to the satisfaction of the court, the judge said “in this case the occurrence speaks for itself.”