Decided on January 20,2020

Rama Chandra Barik Appellant
General Manager, Personal Wing, Canara Bank Respondents


BISWANATH RATH,J. - (1.) This writ petition involves a challenge to the orders under Annexures-8 and 10 involving an order of dismissal by the employer arising out of a disciplinary proceeding and also involving the order in rejection of appeal.
(2.) Short background involving the case of the petitioner is that petitioner joined the services of Canara Bank at the Umar Branch in the district of Cuttack as a Sub-Staff (Daftary) on 27.3.1990. Petitioner claims that during his service, he could be able to mobilise deposit of Rs.5,29,300/- during the year 1996-97, for which, the Bank has issued certificate of appreciation to him. This apart, the Bank has also issued congratulation letter to the petitioner for his keen involvement in learning all the aspects of the banking. The petitioner has helped the Bank for recovery of loan amount from various non-performing accounts. Petitioner has also been issued with congratulation/ appreciation letter from the Bank recognising satisfactory performance by the petitioner. Involving some complaints from the outsider, opposite party no.2 instituted an investigation on the allegation made against the petitioner. After completion of investigation, a report was submitted to the opposite party no.2 concluding that there has been no evidence to prove most of the allegations against the petitioner. But however finding involvement of the petitioner in some of the aspects pointed out therein, a departmental proceeding was initiated by the opposite party no.2 involving the petitioner on the charges framed, vide Charge-Sheet No.CC/DAC/F-37/1404-CH(W-14/2000) dated 02.12.2000 asking the petitioner to submit his explanation within fifteen days from the date of receipt of charge-sheets. In the meantime, the Enquiry Officer was also appointed. The enquiry was concluded with the observation establishing all the four charges against the petitioner. Report of the enquiry is appearing at Annexure-6. Consequent upon consideration of a response to the enquiry report, the Disciplinary Authority passed the order of dismissal dated 09.04.2002, vide Annexure-8 by way of imposition of major penalty. Subsequently, petitioner also preferred appeal to the opposite party no.1 involving the order of dismissal and this appeal was dismissed on 14.2.2003 vide Annexure-10, resulting filing of the present writ petition.
(3.) Dr.Sujata Dash, learned counsel for the petitioner while taking this Court to the grounds taken in the writ petition as well as the grounds raised in the written note of submission contended that statement of different persons have been recorded including that of management witness and the complainants involved therein. Taking this Court to the evidence of such parties recorded during the process of enquiry, Dr.Dash, learned counsel for the petitioner contended that there is no evidence establishing any of the charges against the petitioner and there is an attempt by the management to somehow or other punish the petitioner with the order of dismissal. Dr.Dash alleged that the finding of the Enquiring Officer also remains contrary to the materials available on record. She also alleged that there is no proper consideration of the grounds taken by the petitioner in respect to the enquiry report. Further, taking this Court to the evidence, Dr. Dash also contended that Charge Nos.1 and 2 for the admitted position of the petitioner in the Bank, no responsibility involving the same could have been fixed on the petitioner and so far as Charge Nos.3 and 4 are concerned, Dr. Dash, while submitting that finding on both the charges remain contrary to the materials available on record, she also contended that looking to the gravity of offence, order of dismissal was unwarranted. Dr. Dash on the above premises submitted that even assuming that there is no material that petitioner has utilised a portion of loan amount for his own purpose but accepting that petitioner is involved in receipt of hand loan on both occasions for such activities having no connection with bank business, the punishment imposed appearing to be shockingly disproportionate to the nature of offences involved therein. Further, taking this Court to the letter of congratulation and letter of appreciation issued by the Management from time to time, Dr. Dash also contended that these documents should have also weighed in the minds of the Disciplinary Authority while imposing major penalty. Looking to the recording of punishment, acceptance of confession of the petitioner by the Disciplinary Authority, Dr. Dash further contended that the confession of the petitioner was limited to the extent that he had taken some money by way of hand loans from the borrower and for the clear evidence of those persons involved expressing that they have not lend any amount from out of the loan amount extended by the Bank as illegal gratification, Dr.Dash contended that there has been improper consideration of the evidence available on record. In support of her contention, Dr. Dash relied upon the following decisions: 1) S.Bhattacharjee Vrs. Sentinel Assurance Co. Ltd., reported in AIR 1955-Cal 594; 2) Aher Raja Khima Vrs. State of Saurashtra, reported in AIR 1956 SC 217; 3) Sarwan Singh and another Vrs. State of Punjab, reported in AIR 1957 SC 637; 4) State of Mysore Vrs. K.Manche Gowda, reported in AIR 1964 SC 506; 5) Colour-Chem Limited Vrs. A. L. Alaspurkar, reported in AIR 1998 SC 948; 6) Union of India Vrs. K.A.Kittu and others, reported in 2000 (5) SLR 797; 7) Union of India Vrs. Gyanchand Chhatar, reported in (2009) 12 SCC 78; and 8) Subash Chandra Panda Vrs. State of Odisha and others, reported in 2013(1) ILR Cut 750/ 1998 CJ (SC) 195. Placing reliance on the above judgments, Dr.Dash has attempted to claim that for the application of the above judgments to the case of the petitioner, the impugned orders ought to be interfered with and set aside.;

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