Case details

Gunesh (Appellant) v The National Transport Corporation and another (Respondents) (Mauritius)

Case ID: JCPC 2016/0022

Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court of Mauritius

Case summary

Issue(s)
  1. Should the appellant’s further material be admitted as fresh evidence?
  2. Who has the burden of proof in a claim of unfair dismissal?
  3. Can the courts consider evidence that was not before the Disciplinary Committee?
  4. Did the lower courts err by substituting its own decision for that of the Disciplinary Committee, refusing to consider agreed transcripts from the misconduct hearing, or by failing address the evidence properly?
Facts

The appellant was employed by the first respondent from 1982 to November 2004. He began as ‘Stores Superintendent’ and was appointed as ‘Head of Stores’ from November 2003.

In January 2004 the Head of the Engineering Department spoke to the appellant about eight of the first respondent’s buses that were running with noisy gear boxes. An ‘immediate quotation procedure’ for the purchase of spare parts was launched.

In October 2004, the appellant was suspended and subsequently charged with gross misconduct, namely failure to perform his duties as Head of Stores. In November 2004 a disciplinary committee found the charge to be proved. It found that the appellant had deliberately withheld information from the Management Tender and Quotation Committee; had used the immediate quotation procedure for Main Shafts when there was no immediate need, resulting in overspend of Rs 405,000; and had failed to ensure that he maintained a proper internal control system for receiving and issuing stock. The first respondent subsequently terminated the appellant’s employment without compensation.

In October 2005, the appellant brought a claim against the first respondent for wrongful and summary termination of his contract of employment. He argued that the substantive charges were not made out and that the disciplinary process was unfair. He claimed damages of Rs 21 million (over £400,00). The The Supreme Court of Mauritius dismissed the claim, concluding that the appellant had failed, on the balance of probabilities, to prove that his employment was wrongfully terminated or that he had suffered prejudice by the wrongful acts of the respondents. In its appellate jurisdiction, the Supreme Court dismissed the appellant’s appeal, holding that the appellant bore the burden of proof and that the judge was entitled to reject the appellant’s evidence.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Rama Gunesh

Respondent(s)
  1. The National Transport Corporation
  2. Rajen Chumroo

Appeal

Justices

Lord Kerr, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

27 Feb 2019

Hearing finish date

27 Feb 2019

Watch hearing
27 Feb 2019 Morning session