BINAY KUMAR PADHI Vs. STATE BANK OF INDIA, BHUBANESWAR
LAWS(ORI)-2021-3-43
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
Decided on March 16,2021

Binay Kumar Padhi Appellant
VERSUS
STATE BANK OF INDIA, BHUBANESWAR Respondents

JUDGEMENT

BISWANATH RATH,J. - (1.) This Writ Petition involves a challenge to the finding of the Enquiring Officer, vide Annexure-6, the decision of the Disciplinary Authority, vide Annexure-7 and the order passed by the Appellate Authority thereby confirming the order of the Disciplinary Authority, vide Annexure-9. It is further claimed that on quashing of Annexure-6, 7 & 9, there may be direction to reinstate the Petitioner in his former post with all service benefits.
(2.) Undisputed fact goes to show that the Petitioner joined service as a Cashier in the Opposite Party-Bank way back on 8.11.1974. He had served in different capacity with different assignments at various Branches/Offices of the Bank in the meantime. While serving for more than 34 years and his service was always found to be satisfactory, the Petitioner for his long tenure of service applied for releasing him from service under the provision of 'Exit Option Scheme' as introduced by the Bank at the relevant point of time. It is claimed that the Petitioner's application was approved with observation that no disciplinary/vigilance case was pending/contemplated against the Petitioner as on the date of approval. It is while the matter stood thus and the Petitioner was lastly posted as Branch Manager of Kantagaon Branch and in pendency of giving effect to the approval of the Exit Option Scheme to the Petitioner, he was placed under suspension by Opposite Party No.3 on 1.2.2006. Explanation was called for from him on 22.3.2006 on the allegations indicated therein without service of Memorandum of charges, which was however, subsequently served on 23.8.2006. Based on service of Memorandum of charges, the Petitioner submitted his Written Statement of defence denying all such allegations. Being dissatisfied with the Written Statement of defence of the Petitioner, enquiry was initiated and concluded, however, with involvement of the Petitioner indicating that out of 11 alleged imputations of misconduct, 8 imputations were proved/partially proved, whereas balance 3 imputations failed. It is alleged that the Disciplinary Authority in complete agreement with the Enquiring Officer asked the Petitioner to file his show cause response. It is pleaded that in complete ignorance of the response of the Petitioner involving the enquiry report, the Disciplinary Authority passed order of punishment, i.e., dismissal from service by its order dated 7.7.2008, vide Annexure-7. On Appeal at the instance of the Petitioner, vide Annexure-8, the Appellate Authority dismissed the Appeal by its order dated 10.2.2009, vide Annexure-9.
(3.) Assailing the impugned orders, the Petitioner initially attempted to challenge the order of punishment on the premises that the punishment amounts to disproportionate to the quantum of offence involved, second limb of argument is that the report of the Enquiring Officer remains perverse to the material documents available on record. Question is also raised on challenge to the punishment order vis--vis initiation of disciplinary proceeding, if maintainable after the Management took a decision in approval of the Application of the Petitioner under 'Exit Option Scheme'. In course of submission, Sri S.Mallick, learned counsel for the Petitioner abandoned Ground Nos.2 and 3 but however, continued to challenge the impugned orders only on Ground No.1. In the process of submission, Sri Mallick, learned counsel for the Petitioner taking this Court to each of the imputations and the findings arrived at by the Enquiring Officer, for the clear finding on failure of establishing some of the imputations, contended that it is for exoneration of the Petitioner from some of the imputations, the punishment of dismissal from service becomes bad. Further taking this Court to demonstrate the finding on each imputation and also the extent of loss suffered by the Bank, Sri Mallick, learned counsel for the Petitioner attempted to establish his claim hereunder and finally prayed this Court for at least observing that the punishment of dismissal from service remains disproportionate to the quantum of offence involved herein.;


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