Decided on February 17,2020

Kasinath Behera Appellant


BISWANATH RATH,J. - (1.) This writ petition involves a challenge to the order of dismissal passed by the Disciplinary Authority vide Annexure-16, order of the Appellate Authority under Annexure-18 as well as the order of the Reviewing Authority under Annexure-20 being violative of principle of natural justice, violative of Rule 68 and 69 of the State Bank of the India Officers' Service Rules, 1992 (hereinafter called as "Rules, 1992") besides also shockingly disproportionate to the alleged misconduct.
(2.) Short background involving the case is that petitioner joined as Clerk at Butupali ABD, Boudh on 5.3.1982. While working as such, petitioner was promoted to the post of Assistant Manager on 1.8.2000 and posted at Madanpur Rampur State Bank of India Branch, Kalahandi. On 1.8.2008, petitioner was again promoted to the post of Deputy Manager (Accts.) and thus posted to State Bank of India, Katringia Branch of Phulbani. While continuing as such, petitioner was transferred and posted at Sonepur Branch on 30.5.2011. While continuing as such, the petitioner was again transferred as Branch Manager to Ullunda Branch. Petitioner was placed under suspension pending investigation on allegation of suspicious transactions vide Annexure-1. On 30.5.2013, vide Annexure-2, petitioner was asked to explain on the private and confidential letter of Regional Manager, Bolangir involving suspicious transactions. Petitioner after applying for supply of relevant document vide Annexures-3, 4 and 5 and while furnishing detail explanation denying the allegations leveled against him also refused to furnish any written statement of confession in the closed chamber of the Chief Manager. It is stated that on 8.11.2013, petitioner was communicated with another letter of Regional Manager making therein serious allegation to have been committed by the petitioner while he was working as Branch Manager in Ullunda Branch. Vide Annexrue-7, petitioner furnished his explanation denying the allegations. Being not satisfied with his explanation, the Disciplinary Authority decided to initiate disciplinary Proceeding purportedly under Rule 68 (1) (i) read with Rule 68 (2) (ii) of the Rules, 1992. Basing on initiation of disciplinary proceeding and asking him to file his written statement of defence vide Annexure-9, petitioner furnished his written statement of defence denying all the allegations and explaining his innocence by referring to his explanation dated 28.11.2013. Explanation of the petitioner being found unsatisfactory, inquiry was conducted involving the petitioner and inquiry report was accordingly submitted vide Annexure-10. It is alleged that Disciplinary Authority without furnishing the copy of inquiry report to the petitioner, accepted the alleged guilty as found in the inquiry report and thereafter furnished a copy of inquiry report dated 28.2.2014 asking the petitioner to submit his explanation vide Annexure-11. Petitioner as a consequence furnished his submission vide Annexure-12 alleging that without considering his reply, the Disciplinary Authority recommended imposition of penalty of dismissal of the petitioner from service to the Appointing Authority which is not permissible in the eye of law. The Disciplinary Authority on the proposed punishment, called upon the petitioner to appear before him for personal hearing vide Annexure-13 pursuant to which, the petitioner appeared and explained his position denying the charges. It is however, admitted that the Appointing Authority after giving personal hearing to the petitioner, accepted the recommendation made by the Disciplinary Authority and the D.G.M.(B&O) thereby inflicting upon the petitioner punishment of dismissal and also treating period of suspension as not on duty. Petitioner preferred appeal to the Chief General Manager. It is alleged that the appellate authority without providing opportunity of hearing, rejected the appeal vide Annexure-18. Being aggrieved, petitioner preferred review to the Managing Director &Reviewing Authority, State Bank of India seeking review of disproportionate punishment imposed on him. It is also alleged that the Reviewing Authority without providing reasonable opportunity of hearing to the petitioner, rejected his review. Hence, the writ petition.
(3.) Sri B.S.Tripathy-1,learned counsel appearing for the petitioner while reiterating the facts narrated hereinabove challenged the imposition of punishment on the petitioner on the premises that there has been violation of principle of natural justice in so far as the disciplinary proceeding against the petitioner is concerned submitting that initially at the stage of furnishing his reply against the charge sheet, thereafter after framing of charge, he was required to furnish his reply to the report and thereafter at the stage when the appointing authority unilaterally accepting the recommendation made by the Disciplinary Authority and thereafter at the stage when the order of punishment was imposed upon him by the Appointing Authority. Sri Tripathy, learned counsel for the petitioner also urged that even the petitioner was not provided with an opportunity of personal hearing either by the Appellate Authority or the Reviewing Authority. To support his case, in the matter of violation of natural justice, Sri Tripathy, learned counsel referred to the decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court rendered in the case of Oryx Fisheries, 2010 (13) SCC 427 and also another decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the matter of Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderabad, etc. etc. v. B.Karunakar, etc.etc. AIR 1994 SC 1074. Sri Tripathy, learned counsel however confining his argument on the question of violation of natural justice, ultimately relying on decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderabad, etc. etc. v. B.Karunakar, etc. etc., 1993 4 SCC 727, and Division Bench judgment of this Court in the case of Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation and another v. Bhupal Shankar Tripathy, (W.A.No .319 of 2014), contended that the entire disciplinary proceeding suffers and as a consequence, the order of the appellate authority as well as the revisional authority also to be declared as bad.;

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