STATE BANK OF INDIA Vs. WORKMEN OF STATE BANK OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: BOMBAY)
STATE BANK OF INDIA
WORKMEN OF STATE BANK OF INDIA
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Sawant, J. -
(1.)Special leave granted. The appeal is set down for hearing by consent of both the parties.
(2.)This appeal involves a question of interpretation of paragraphs 521 (5)(e) and 521 (10)(c) of the Award of the All India Industrial Tribunal (Bank Disputes) which is populary known as the Sastri Award, (hereinafter referred to as the Award) and is important for the entire banking industry in the country covered by the Award.
(3.)In order to appreciate the significance of the question, it is necessary to narrate the facts leading to this appeal. The employee concerned was working as a clerk in the Gadchiroli branch of the appellant State Bank of India at the relevant time. A departmental inquiry was held against him for four acts of misconduct and the inquiry officer came to the conclusion that two of the charges were fully proved while one charge was proved to a limited extent and the fourth charge was not established. On the basis of the report of the inquiry officer, the competent authority tentatively decided to dismiss the employee from service, and issued a notice to him under paragraph 521 (10)(a) of the Award, to show cause as to why the said punishment should not be imposed on him. The competent authority also gave him a hearing as required by the said provision, and thereafter passed an order, the operative and relevant part of which is as follows:
"Looking at the entire case I find that the established charges, viz., uttering indecent word, threatening the Agent and failure to do the work allotted are quite serious charges and would warrant dismissal. However, the employee has had the benefit of a very tenacious defence from the date of the issue of the show cause notice for dismissal and various arguments have been raised with a view to evade the punishment which would ,,normally follow out of the seriousness of the offences. Taking note of them, even though I do not quite find them tenable, as indicated in my detailed observations thereon, and of the extenuating circumstances (most important of which is the comparatively young age of the employee) I have decided not to impose the punishment of dismissal. At the same time I am of the opinion that it would not be desirable to retain Shri Sadavarte in the Bank's service and accordingly I order that he be discharged on payment of one month's pay and allowances in lieu of notice. In terms of para 521 (10)(c) of the Sastry Award, this would not amount to disciplinary action."
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