Biswanath Rath, J. -
(1.) This writ petition involves a challenge to the order of dismissal of the petitioner from service passed by the disciplinary authority on four counts ; firstly since the appointing authority involving the petitioner and the charge-sheet since communicated by the Chairman, as disciplinary authority, the General Manager remains incompetent in performing as disciplinary authority ; secondly for the charge-sheet involving the allegation of violation of Rule 17 of Koraput Panchabati Gramya Bank (Officers and Employees) Services Regulations, 1980 ( in short, "Regulations1980"), no proceeding should have been conducted involving Rule 19 of Regulations-1980 ; thirdly the petitioner having been proceeded for the violation of provision under Regulations-1980, the punishment order being passed following the provision of Koraput Panchabati Gramya Bank (Officers and Employees) Services Regulations, 2001 (in short, "Regulations-2001") is also impermissible and the fourth limb of argument of the petitioner remaining there being finding in the enquiry report that the document referred to and relied upon in the disciplinary proceeding having not been accompanied at the time of filing of application to seek job in the Gramya Bank Establishment and the petitioner having not availed any benefit on account of production of such Caste Certificate, the punishment imposed appears to be shockingly disproportionate to the quantum of offence.
(2.) Sri S.Mallick, learned counsel for the petitioner taking this Court to different documents appended to the writ petition demonstrated that the petitioner being selected as an employee was issued with order of appointment by the Chairman, as appointing authority. Further through the submission of chargesheet and asking the petitioner to show cause, Sri Mallick also demonstrated that from the disclosure at page-25 of the brief, the Chairman was the disciplinary authority. It is in this circumstance, referring to the punishment order being passed by the General Manger, as appearing at page-39 of the brief, Sri Mallick, learned counsel for the petitioner on the above ground submitted that the order of punishment was passed by the person incompetent to work as disciplinary authority involving the petitioner. Referring to the charge-sheet and placing the charge framed therein, Sri Mallick, learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the charge-sheet only involves violation of Rule 17 of the Regulations-1980. Taking this Court to the notice for proposed punishment as well as the final order of punishment, learned counsel for the petitioner thus contended that for the petitioner prosecuted for violation of Rule 17 of the Regulations-1980, there was no occasion on the part of the employer to punish the petitioner under Rule 19 of the Regulations1980. Sri Mallick further contended that the provision at Rule 19 of the Regulations-2001 is not an offending provision, as the same deals with promoting the Bank interest. Further referring to Rule 38 of the Regulations-2001 dealing with penalties and the definition at Rule 2(i) for the definition involving the competent authority, Sri Mallick, learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the Chairman being the competent authority is to be involved in the disciplinary proceeding involving the employee. Further taking this Court to the reference of Regulations-1980 in the show cause and charge, Sri Mallick, learned counsel for the petitioner also contended that the petitioner should not have been punished under the provision of Regulations-2001. Further taking this Court to the observation of the enquiring authority that the petitioner did not place the so claimed Caste Certificate at the time of making application for initial appointment, the punishment of dismissal from service becomes harsh. It is in the circumstance and drawing reliance of the decisions in Dharam Dev Mehta vrs. The Union of India and another, 1980 AIR(SC) 557, Sampurna Singh vrs. State of Punjab, 1982 AIR(SC) 1407 and Ariane Orgachem Pvt. Ltd. vrs. Wyeth Employees Union & others, 2015 7 SCC 561, Sri Mallick attempted to take help of the decisions of the Hon'ble apex Court applying to the case of the petitioner. In the circumstance, learned counsel for the petitioner prayed this Court for interfering with the impugned order and setting aside the same.
(3.) In his opposition, Sri G.N.Mishra, learned counsel for the opposite parties while opposing each of the grounds raised in challenge of the impugned order of punishment, on the other hand, submitted that so far the plea of the petitioner that the disciplinary proceeding undertaken by the incompetent officer referring to the provision at Rule 39 of the Regulations-2001 justified the disciplinary proceeding being undertaken by the General Manager. Coming to answer on the allegation of the petitioner that when the charge-sheet indicated allegation involving the petitioner under Rule 17 of the Regulations-1980, no proceeding should have been conducted involving Rule 19 of the Regulations-1980. Sri Mishra, learned counsel for the opposite parties submitted that looking to the charge-sheet there appears, there was also involvement of violation of Rule 19 of the Regulations-1980. Mere non-indication of provision cannot make the disciplinary proceeding fatal. Coming to challenge of the petitioner on imposition of punishment under different Rules, Sri Mishra, learned counsel for the opposite parties taking this Court to both the Rules contended that Rules 17, 19 & 39 of the Regulations-1980 remain as it is in the new Rule governing the field being called as "Koraput Panchabati Gramya Bank (Officers and Employees) Service Regulations, 2001, he thus contended that there is no difficulty in referring to the Regulations-2001 in the punishment order. Sri Mishra further contended that for the petitioner undertaking appointment under the false Caste Certificate, the petitioner had no right to continue and no leniency should be shown to such persons. On the decisions cited at Bar, Sri Mishra, learned counsel for the opposite parties contended that for the difference in the facts situation involving the case at hand and the case relied on, none of the decisions has application to the case of the petitioner. Similarly on the allegation of the petitioner that there is no benefit accrued by virtue of production of Caste Certificate, no punishment should have been inflicted involving the petitioner. Sri Mishra further submitted that for the clear report of the Enquiry Officer, the petitioner while being appointed as an employee of the Gramya Bank has attempted to get the benefit on account of his Caste by production of false Caste Certificate. Sri Mishra thus contended that the above allegation of the petitioner remains contrary to the material available on record. It is in the circumstance, Sri Mishra, learned counsel for the opposite parties prayed this Court for not entertaining the writ petition and dismissing the same for having no merit.;