LAKHINI GAOLIA BANK & ORS.
Civil Appeal No. 4394 of 2010, Decided on 8.02.2021.
Judges: Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah, JJ.
Facts:The appellant was the manager of the Lakhimi Gaolia Bank and on the basis of certain allegations levelled against him, disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him. The report of the Enquiry Officer that the manager has sanctioned and disbursed loan without following the due procedure contemplated under law was accepted by the disciplinary authority. As a result of the proceedings, the manager was imposed with a punishment of ‘compulsory retirement’. The High Court upheld the ‘compulsory retirement’ order.
Hence, the present appeal filed in the Supreme Court. The contention was raised that the disciplinary authority has not recorded reasons while imposing the punishment of compulsory retirement and appellate authority has also dismissed appeal without recording any reasons.
Issue:Whether the appropriate procedure was followed by the disciplinary authority and whether the punishment imposed is disproportionate to the gravity of charges?
Held:The Court upheld the decisions of the earlier authorities and held that it cannot be said that the procedure prescribed under the rules was not followed by respondent bank. Merely because a show cause notice is issued by indicating the proposed punishment it cannot be said that disciplinary authority has taken a decision, along with the show cause notice itself enquiry report was also enclosed.
The Court also rejected the contention that the punishment imposed is disproportionate to the gravity of charges. The charges framed against the appellant in the departmental enquiry are serious and grave. In spite of proved misconduct on such serious charges, disciplinary authority itself was liberal in imposing the punishment of compulsory retirement.
The Court noted that “A bank officer/ employer deals with the public money. The nature of his work demands vigilance with the in-built requirement to act carefully. If an officer/ employee of the bank is allowed to act beyond his authority, the discipline of bank will disappear.”