JAYARAM PANDA Vs. D V RAIYANI
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
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G.B.PATNAIK, J. -
(1.) This case has been referred to the Full Bench as a Bench of this Court doubted the correctness of the Bench decision of this Court in the case of Agadhu Charan Giri v. Commercial Manager, Indian Airlines, Calcutta (1985) 2 Orissa LR 513, on the question whether an order of acquittal passed in a criminal case debars a departmental inquiry on the self-same charges or not. The doubt arose because of some observations made by the Supreme Courtin the case of Corpn. of the City of Nagpur, Civil Lines, Nagpur v. Ramachandra G. Modak, AIR 1984 SC 626 : (1984 Lab IC 179).
(2.) The brief facts are that the petitioner was appointed as a Clerk in the Bank of India on 27-12-1971 and was posted as Clerk-cum-Cashier at Berhampur between the period 24-12-1975 and 4-1-1979. During the said period, he was tried in two criminal cases namely SPE 8 of 1978 and SPE 10 of 1978 on the allegations that he committed certain forgery and manipulated certain documents which facilitated one Shri N.P. Singh Samanta to withdraw certain amount from the Bank. The petitioner in both these cases was convicted by the learned Trial Judge and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years and to pay a fine Rs. 10,000/-. But the said conviction and sentence were set aside in appeal in Criminal Appeals Nos. 31 and 32 of 1980, disposed of on 2-9-1980. The prosecution moved this Court against the said order of acquittal for grant of leave to prefer appeal, but the same having been rejected by this Courton 9-1-1981, the prosecution approached the Supreme Court in Special Leave Petitions. Ultimately, the Supreme Courtalso dismissed the Special Leave petitions on 15-10-1981. The petitioner was placed under suspension on 3-11-1979, but in view of the order of acquittal in the criminal cases passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, the order of suspension was lifted and he was permitted to continue in service by order dated 27-4-1981. The petitioner was promoted to the post of Special Assistant on 26-8-1981. On 8-5-1982, the Regional Manager of the Bank served notice on the petitioner to show cause as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against the petitioner for the acts of gross misconduct committed by the petitioner while he was working as a Cashier at Berhampur Branch. The said notice that was served on the petitioner has been annexed as Annex. 5 to the writ petition. The petitioner did file his show cause which has been annexed as Annex. 6 to the writ petition and contended therein that the charges in question having been inquired into by the criminal Court and the petitioner having been acquitted of the said charges, and the matter having been carried right up to the Supreme Court and the prosecution having failed, the departmental proceeding should be dropped. On consideration of the aforesaid show cause of the petitioner, but not being satisfied with the same the said Regional Manager who was appointed as the disciplinary authority served a set of charges on the petitioner which have been annexed as Annex. 12 to the writ petition and nominated one Shri K. Srinivasa Raghavan as the Inquiry Officer to hold the departmental inquiry into the charges levelled against the petitioner. The said letter of the disciplinary authority which was served on the petitioner has been annexed as Annex. 13 to the writ petition. The petitioner thereafter approached this Court for quashing of the charges under Annex. 12 as well as the proceedings.
(3.) It has been contended in the writ petition that in view of the order of acquittal of the petitioner in the criminal cases, initiation of a departmental proceeding on the self-same charges and on the self-same facts is improper. It has further been urged that Para 505 of the Sastry Award which is binding on the parties prohibits launching of a departmental proceeding in the facts and circumstances of the present case, and, therefore, the initiation of a proceeding under Annexures-12 and 13 is void. In the return filed by the opposite parties it has been stated that the Appellate Judge has set aside the conviction of the petitioner on a technical view of the matter and the order of acquittal is not on merits. It has further been stated in the said counter-affidavit that the initiation of disciplinary action by way of departmental proceeding is not prohibited because of an order of acquittal passed by the criminal Court. On the question of applicability of Sastry Award, it has been stated that the said Award is inapplicable and does not govern the parties in view of the subsequent bipartite settlement between the Banking Companies represented by the Indian Bank's Association and their Workmen. A rejoinder to the counter-affidavit has been filed by the petitioner and the Opposite Parties have also filed a reply to the same.;
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