TRILOCHAN DASH Vs. CHAIRMAN-CUM-MANAGING DIRECTOR UNION BANK OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
Chairman-Cum-Managing Director Union Bank Of India
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BISWANATH RATH,J. -
(1.) The writ petition involves a challenge to the order of termination being passed by the Disciplinary Authority and the order of rejection of appeal involving termination of the petitioner by the Appellate Authority vide Annexures-3 and 4 and thereby directing opposite party nos.1 to 3 to reinstatement the petitioner in service with all service benefits.
(2.) Heard Mr. M.K.Mallick, learned counsel for the petitioner and Mr.S.Das, learned counsel for the opposite party nos.2 and 3. None appears for opposite party nos.1 and 4.
(3.) Short background involving the case is petitioner joined the Union Bank of India as a Clerk-cum-Cashier at its Angul Branch on 28.5.1977. In May, 1985, petitioner was promoted to the post of Head Cashier. Petitioner's next promotion would have been to the post of Scale-I Officer. On 02.12.1999, when the petitioner while was working as a 'C' category Head Cashier in the Union Bank of India, Balukhanda Branch, Puri, he was suspended by the Assistant General Manager, Regional Office, Bhubaneswar on 02.12.1999 vide Annexure-5. Pending initiation of a disciplinary proceeding, a departmental proceeding was initiated. Charge-sheet was communicated to the petitioner on 16.3.2000. On the allegations made therein, petitioner submitted his explanation to the charge-sheet vide Annexure-7 completely denying the allegations made against him. In response to the same, the Disciplinary Authority intimated to the petitioner on 10.6.2000, vide Annexure-6 that the Disciplinary Authority is not satisfied with the defence plea. While the matter stood thus, opposite party no.4 was appointed as Enquiry Officer on 10.6.2000. As a consequence, the Enquiry Officer communicated to the petitioner that he has been appointed as an Enquiry Officer-cum-Disciplinary Authority to enquire into the allegations involving the petitioner. Upon completion of the enquiry, the Enquiry Officer communicated his assessment in the enquiry on 31.05.2001 as appearing at Annexure-15 and thereby suggesting punishment of dismissal from service from the Bank with stoppage of increment for six months without cumulative effect. Second show-cause was issued to the petitioner. Personal hearing was conducted by opposite party no.4 on 28.06.2001 in the capacity of Disciplinary Authority finally opposite party no.4 passed the order of punishment vide Annexure-3 giving scope for filing of an appeal. Appeal was also dismissed by the Appellate Authority as appearing at Annexure-4.
Advancing his submission on the maintainability of the enquiry proceeding through opposite party no.4, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner explaining the position of opposite party no.4 and the provision of the service rules of the Bank called as 'Union Bank of India Officer Employees' (Discipline and Appeal) Regulations, 1976' contended that for the provision therein opposite party no.4 can never act as a Disciplinary Authority of the petitioner. In addition to the above, he also challenged the enquiry proceeding for having no merit. Learned counsel for the petitioner also contended that the order of the Appellate Authority is a biased one, as the Appellate Authority has not taken into account the points raised by the petitioner in the memorandum of appeal. More particularly, in the matter of competency of opposite party no.4 to impose punishment of termination on the petitioner. In the process, the petitioner claimed that the enquiry report being a void report, no action could have been contemplated involving such report. Petitioner contended that since opposite party no.4 was not the appointing authority; he could not have been engaged as a Disciplinary Authority. It is also contended that since the charge-sheet against him and the disciplinary proceeding were all initiated by opposite party no.1, action of opposite party no.4 remain incompetent.
Learned counsel for the petitioner also contended that order of punishment is also void ab initio making thereby the order of the Appellate Authority inconsequential. Learned counsel for the petitioner taking this Court to the material particulars as well as evidence recorded during the enquiry proceeding contended that for the amount involved therein being refunded by the beneficiaries, there is in fact no loss to the Bank as a consequence and for no suffering of the Bank, there would not have been punishment of termination involving the petitioner. It is accordingly contended that the order of termination also remained not in consonance with the volume of charges. ;
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