Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
We have received a great deal of evidence on the subject of disciplinary action and insecurity of service. On the one side it was urged that existing forms of service agreements were unfair in that the administration was empowered to terminate service without assigning reasons. It was also urged that on occasions men were dispensed with by discharge instead of by dismissal, thereby preventing them, as discharged employees, from exercising rights of appeal generally accorded to dismissed employees. The contention is that the usual form of agreement gives no protection against unfair termination of service. The other side of the case is stated by the Railway Board in recently issued rules and explanations regulating the discharge and dismissal of state railway non-gazetted government servants as follows:—
" The Railway Department being a commercial department, service in it must in its nature diner from service in other government departments and continuance of employment most be subject to the tests and conditions enforced by large commercial concerns. Accordingly the power which the railway administrations possess of discharging railway servants without assigning reasons in accordance with the terms of their agreement, or otherwise on reduction of establishment due to fluctuations of traffic, simplification of the methods of work or any other cause, or on grounds of inefficiency, must be retained. This power, however, by its very nature imposes upon the competent authority the obligation to use it considerately and with strict justice so that the railway servants shall feel that they can expect fair and reasonable treatment. A too frequent or a thoughtless recourse to it is apt to lead to a sense of instability of service, which is detrimental both to the welfare of the staff and to the efficient and economical working of railways."
The partial application, however, of Fundamental Rules and other rules and regulations to state-managed and company-managed railways on no uniform plan has complicated the position and created service traditions and vested rights that cannot be ignored. The feeling of insecurity of service is a source of anxiety, which in our opinion justifies further efforts being made to remove cause for complaint. Where large numbers of workers are employed, there must be cases in which disciplinary action has to be taken, but this makes it all the more necessary that the workers should understand that steady work, reasonable efficiency and good conduct will ensure security of tenure. They should also feel assured that, when their service or conduct falls short of the required standard, opportunities for explanation will be provided, and that their services will not be terminated without due enquiry, and, if desired, ample rights of appeal to higher authorities.