ALLAHABAD BANK Vs. ASHOK KUMAR SINHA
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
Ashok Kumar Sinha
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SANJIB BANERJEE,J. -
(1.) The order impugned is completely bereft of reasons and based on the subjective opinion of the Single Bench without any reference to any date or particulars or any material of relevance. The judgment is based completely on impression and cannot be countenanced.
(2.) Disciplinary proceedings were brought against the respondent-employee, albeit a few weeks before he was due to retire, but the articles of charge detailed the acts of perceived irregularity committed by the employee and called for the employee's explanation. Several of the articles of charge referred to dates of sanction of loans and there is no doubt that a number of such dates of sanction were more than four years prior to the articles of charge being issued on January 7, 2010. However, there were as many, if not more, articles of charge pertaining to transactions where the loan amount was sanctioned by the respondent-employee within a period of four years prior to the issuance of the charge-sheet.
(3.) Without referring to the dates of the transactions - far less, referring to the dates of the perceived defaults on the part of the respondent-employee - in a sweeping manner, the entire charges have been brushed aside on the basis of a circular that provided that, ordinarily, charges which pertained to a period of more than four years prior to the date of the charge-sheet should not be brought against an employee. However, the writ court failed to notice that the relevant circular of the bank dated May 15, 2009 contained an exception clause: "This time limit will not apply to cases of (i) frauds, (ii) other criminal offences or (iii) cases where mala fides are inferable."
Here was an employee of a bank against whom previous disciplinary proceedings culminated in the diminution of the respondent's pay. The challenge to such order of punishment in previous proceedings failed in this court.
The charges levelled against the respondent in the present case ranged from the original copies of the title-deeds not being received and copies of fake title-deeds being accepted to grant loans to demands not being made at the appropriate stage upon the first default and events of default being overlooked altogether. In the overwhelming majority of the cases, the perceived default on the part of the respondent was within the period of four years prior to the issuance of the charge-sheet, though the sanction of the loans may have been earlier.;
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