CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA Vs. C BERNARD
LAWS(SC)-1990-10-21
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KARNATAKA)
Decided on October 09,1990

CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA Appellant
VERSUS
C Bernard Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

DELHI CLOTH AND GENERAL MILLS CO.LTD. V. LABOUR COURT,TIS HAZARI [REFERRED TO]
GOKARAJURANGARAJU ACHANTI SREENIVASA RAO VS. STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

SUSAMA SAHA VS. THE KOLKATA MUNICIPAL CORPORATION AND ORS. [LAWS(CAL)-2015-12-2] [REFERRED TO]
NOLA JONATHAN RANBHISE VS. UNION OF INDIA [LAWS(BOM)-2014-2-49] [REFERRED TO]
U P STATE ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION VS. LAKHAN SINGH AND 2 OTHERS [LAWS(ALL)-2018-10-54] [REFERRED TO]
NIRMAL NAHAR VS. STATE [LAWS(RAJ)-1995-3-25] [REFERRED TO]
B. JAYARAJAN VS. THE STATE OF KERALA AND ORS. [LAWS(KER)-2015-1-127] [REFERRED TO]
M KARUPPIAH VS. SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT OF TAMILNADU, RURAL DEVELOPMENT (E2) DEPARTMENT; DISTRICT REVENUE OFFICER; TAHSILDAR [LAWS(MAD)-2009-4-757] [REFERRED]
B. ANITHA VS. GENERAL MANAGER - HRD, APPELLATE AUTHORITY, THE KARUR VYSYA BANK LIMITED AND ORS. [LAWS(MAD)-2020-12-523] [REFERRED TO]
SHRIKANT PRASAD SRIVASTAVA VS. STATE OF BIHAR [LAWS(PAT)-1996-10-11] [REFERRED TO]
SUBEDAR PATHAK VS. GENERAL MANAGER UNION BANK OF INDIA MUMBAI [LAWS(ALL)-2005-9-152] [DISTINGUISHED]
INDIAN TELEPHONE INDUSTRIES LTD VS. DEVI SHANKAR KUMAR SHUKLA [LAWS(ALL)-1996-9-108] [REFERRED TO]
K SUDHEERA VS. MANAGEMENT OF URBAN DEV CREDIT BANK [LAWS(APH)-1992-6-18] [REFERRED TO]
COAL INDIA LTD. VS. LAKSHMAN SINGH [LAWS(CAL)-1996-6-44] [REFERRED TO]
KHITISH CHANDRA RABIDAS VS. UNION OF INDIA [LAWS(CAL)-2004-9-3] [REFERRED TO]
THANJAVUR TEXTILES LIMITED VS. B PURUSHOTHAM [LAWS(SC)-1999-3-71] [REFERRED TO]
H V NIRMALA VS. KARNATAKA STATE FINANCIAL CORPORATION [LAWS(SC)-2009-5-61] [REFERRED TO]
SUNITY PANDEY VS. KANT PRASAD SHRIVASTAVA [LAWS(PAT)-1997-2-76] [REFERREED TO]
SATISH KUMAR KUKREJA VS. ADDITIONAL SECRETARY AND ORS. [LAWS(CA)-2009-4-28] [REFERRED TO]
ANIL PADEGAONKAR VS. BHARAT PETROLEUM CORPORATION [LAWS(MPH)-2003-6-22] [REFERRED TO]
SANDVIK ASIS VS. MARUTI MAHIPATI JAGADALE [LAWS(BOM)-2002-3-113] [REFERRED TO]
SHRIPAD ANANT PURANIK VS. GENERAL MANAGER B E S AND T UNDERTAKING [LAWS(BOM)-2009-10-114] [REFERRED TO]
RANJIT BOSE VS. E AND N F RAILWAY CREDIT CO OPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD [LAWS(CAL)-2009-2-92] [REFERRED TO]
VIJAY ALIAS AMBADAS DATTATRAYA PAWAR VS. RAMAPPA AMBANNAPPA MASARE [LAWS(BOM)-2012-2-45] [REFERRED TO]
PUNJAB MARKFED FIED EMPLOYEES UNION VS. STATE OF PUNJAB [LAWS(P&H)-2000-8-19] [RELIED ON]
RAMA CHANDRA BEHERA VS. CHAIRMAN [LAWS(ORI)-2019-12-42] [REFERRED TO]
HOTEL KANISHKA VS. DELHI ADMINISTRATION [LAWS(DLH)-1995-7-85] [REFERRED]
S SOUNDIRARAJAN VS. INDIAN OVERSEAS BANK MANAGING DIRECTOR CENTRAL OFFICE [LAWS(MAD)-2018-6-753] [REFERRED TO]
DEV NARAIN VERMA VS. DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF CONSOLIDATION BAHRAICH & OTHERS [LAWS(ALL)-2018-7-141] [REFERRED TO]
HAMILTON HOUSWARES PVT LTD VS. DESIGNATED AUTHORITY DIRECTORATE GENERAL OF ANTI-DUMPING AND ALLIED DUTIES [LAWS(BOM)-2011-10-64] [REFERRED TO]
SATISH KUMAR KUKREJA VS. ADD SECRETARY MINISTRY OF HRD [LAWS(DLH)-2010-5-106] [REFERRED TO]
V GNANASEKARAN VS. GOVERNMENT OF TAMIL NADU [LAWS(MAD)-2003-1-151] [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF KERALA VS. MANAGER,NIDUVALOOR A.U.P. SCHOOL [LAWS(KER)-2022-7-21] [REFERRED TO]
ANOOP KUMAR SAXENA VS. CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA [LAWS(ALL)-2003-9-186] [REFERRED TO]
DR. TAPAS KUMAR MANDAL VS. UNION OF INDIA AND ORS. [LAWS(CAL)-2016-4-204] [REFERRED TO]
V GNANASEKARAN VS. GOVT OF TAMIL NADU [LAWS(MAD)-2001-1-125] [REFERRED TO]
G RAMAMOORTHY VS. BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF HINDUSTAN PHOTO FILMS MANUFACTURING COMPANY LTD [LAWS(MAD)-2002-11-114] [REFERRED TO]
S NAGENDER VS. GOVRNMENT OF A P [LAWS(APH)-2006-4-104] [REFERRED TO]
VIJAY ALIAS AMBADAS DATTATRAYA PAWAR VS. RAMAPPA AMBANNAPPA MASARE [LAWS(BOM)-2011-12-104] [REFERRED TO]
HOTEL KANISHKA VS. DELHI ADMINISTRATION [LAWS(DLH)-1995-4-3] [REFERRED]
CAPSTAN METERS INDIA LIMITED VS. JUDGE LABOUR COURT JAIPUR [LAWS(RAJ)-1991-4-10] [REFERRED TO]
STATE VS. BABU SINGH [LAWS(P&H)-2013-8-146] [REFERRED TO]
THANJAVUR TEXTILES LIMITED VS. B PURUSHOTHAM [LAWS(SC)-1999-5-19] [REFERRED]
STANDARD CHARTERED GRINDLAYS BANK VS. PRESIDING OFFICER CENTRAL GOVERNMENT INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL [LAWS(ALL)-2003-7-209] [REFERRED TO]
K. MOHAN VS. STATE BANK OF INDIA [LAWS(MAD)-2014-4-198] [REFERRED TO]
K G MHAISKAR VS. BANK OF MAHARASHTRA [LAWS(BOM)-1996-9-46] [REFERRED TO]
SANJAY BHASKAR RAIMULKAR AGED ABOUT 45 YEARS, ELECTED MEMBER OF LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY IN THE ELECTION HELD IN 2014 FROM MEHKAR CONSTITUENCY, RESIDENT OF : AT AND PO: NANDRA DHANDE, TQ. MEHKAR,DIST. BULDANA VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA THROUGH ITS SECRETARY MINISTRY OF TRIBAL WELFARE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, MANTRALAYA, MUMBAI 400 032 [LAWS(BOM)-2017-3-132] [REFERRED TO]
ABDUL RASHEED SIKANDARSAB KULKARNI VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [LAWS(BOM)-2006-7-61] [REFERRED TO]
UNION OF INDIA VS. PRADIP KUMAR SARAF [LAWS(CAL)-1992-6-24] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)The short question which arises in this appeal by special leave is whether the departmental enquiry entrusted to and conducted by a bank official stands vitiated if the said official proceeds with the enquiry and concludes the same after his superannuation during the pendency of the enquiry The High court of Karnataka has held that such an enquiry is incompetent and without jurisdiction and, therefore, null and void. The facts giving rise to this appeal, briefly stated, are as under: The respondent C. Bernard while serving as a Relieving Head Cashier in the K. G. Road Branch of the Bank in Bangalore city availed of 15 days leave from 17/04/197 8/05/1978 and was allowed an advance of Rs. 2,500. 00 on 1/04/1978 under LFC to be adjusted later on his submitting the LFC bill. He submitted a bill for Rs. 2,800. 00 on 5/05/1978 along with a stamped cash receipt purported to have been issued by M/s Shri Manju Travels of Bangalore and claimed reimbursement for the same. The said bill was passed by the bank on 15/05/1978 but subsequent investigations revealed that the firm of M/s Shri Manju Travels was a spurious one which indulged in issuing fake travel receipts. Thereupon the respondent was served with a memo dated 1/08/1978 by the Divisional Office of the Bank calling for his explanation. A letter was also addressed on the same day to M/s Shri Manju Travels, Bangalore requesting them to furnish the details of the persons who travelled and the amounts received by the said firm. No reply was received from the said firm but the respondent sent a reply on 10/08/1978 which was not found to be satisfactory. Some correspondence ensued between the respondent and the appellant in this connection but finally the respondent was served with the charge-sheet dated 12/10/1978 which was followed by a departmental enquiry. It is not necessary to go into the details in regard to proceedings at the departmental enquiry but it would be sufficient to state that the respondent participated in the departmental enquiry till it was completed by the enquiry officer Shri U. B. Menon.
(2.)Paragraph 9.14 of the Memorandum of Bi-partite Settlement dated 19/10/1966 empowers the Chief Executive Officer, etc. of the Bank to decide which officer (s) would be empowered to hold enquiry and take disciplinary action in the case of each office or establishment, Accordingly Shri U. B. Menon, Special Officer, was appointed an Enquiry Officer under the Chief Executive Officer's Order dated 9/01/1979, which reads as under :
"Pursuant to the powers vested in the Executive Director by the Chairman and Managing Director of the Bank, as per his office order dated 20/12/1978, authorising him to appoint Enquiry 323 Officers and appellate authorities under the provisions of Ch. 19 of the Bi-partite Settlement dated 19/10/1966, the undersigned is pleased to appoint Shri U. B. Menon, Special Officer, to work as an Enquiry Officer,. to hold and conduct departmental enquiries against the members of the staff governed by the provisions of the Award and Bi-partite Settlement, and to pass necessary orders under the provisions of Ch. 19 of the Bi-partite Settlement dated 19/10/1966. "by a subsequent circular dated 17/01/1979 all offices of the Bank were informed about the appointment. Shri U. B. Menon was intimated about the same by the Assistant General Manager's letter dated 23/01/1979. The said Enquiry Officer conducted the departmental enquiry against the respondent. However, during the pendency of the departmental enquiry he retired from service on 31/01/1979. Notwithstanding his retirement he continued to function as an Enquiry Officer and concluded the enquiry against the respondent by the end of 1979. He then gave an opportunity to the respondent to be heard on the question of punishment and then passed the impugned order of discharge on January 14, 1980. The respondent's departmental appeal was also dismissed on 17/06/1980. The respondent did not raise any objection against the continuance of the enquiry by the said Shri U. B. Menon at any time during the pendency and till the disposal of the departmental appeal preferred by him. Suffice it to say that he raised this objection for the first time in Writ Petition No. 18140 of 1980 filed against the impugned order of discharge in the High court.

(3.)A learned Single Judge of the High court by his order dated 18/01/1988 came to the conclusion that on the retirement of Shri U. B. Menon 'he was nobody in the hierarchy of authorities' to impose punishment on the respondent and hence the order imposing punishment was clearly incompetent and without jurisdiction. The argument that since the impugned order of discharge got merged in the appellate order, the initial defect, if any, stood removed, was repelled by the learned Judge on the ground that 'as the original order was without jurisdiction or competence, there was nothing for the Appellate Authority to confirm'. The learned Single Judge, therefore, allowed the writ petition, quashed the impugned order of punishment and directed that the respondent be paid all consequential benefits. The appellant preferred a letters patent appeal against the said order of the learned Single Judge. The division bench of the High court which heard the appeal dismissed it by a one line order : 'no ground for interference is made out'. It is against this order that the appellant has approached this court under Article 136 of the Constitution.
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