V SUBBA RAO Vs. DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER CANARA BANK HYDERABAD CIRCLE HYDERABAD
LAWS(APH)-1992-3-58
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Decided on March 31,1992

V.SUBBA RAO Appellant
VERSUS
DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER, CANARA BANK, HYDERABAD CIRCLE, HYDERABAD Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

MOHANBHAI VS. Y.B.ZALA [REFERRED TO]
E.VEDAVYAS VS. GOVT. OF A.P. [REFERRED TO]
M.P.SACHDEVA VS. STATE OF H.P. [REFERRED TO]
T SHEPHARD VS. UNION OF INDIA [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH VS. BANI SINGH [REFERRED TO]
CANARA BANK VS. Y L SHARMA [REFERRED TO]
A P AUGUSTINE VS. SUPT OF POST OFFICES [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)This writ petition is filed by a former employee of the Laxmi Commercial Bank which has been amalgamated with the Canara Bank and the petitioner is working in the Canara Bank after the amalgamation as per a judgment of the Supreme Court. He now claims relief of a declaration that the proceedings of the Deputy General Manager, Canara Bank, Hyderabad Circle, dated 31-7-1991 is illegal, arbitrary and without jurisdiction. He seeks the relief of declaration that an employee of the erstwhile Lakshmi Commercial Bank cannot be charge-sheeted under the regulations of the Canara Bank Officer Employees (Disciplinary and Appeal) Regulations, 1976, for lapses that are said to have occurred prior to the amalgamation of the Lakshmi Commercial Bank with Canara Bank.
(2.)The facts leading to the filing of the present writ petition are as follows: The Lakshmi Commercial Bank was amalgamated with the Canara Bank with effect from 24-8-1985. Initially all employees of the erstwhile Lakshmi Commercial Bank were not absorbed. Then those employees, who were excluded, agitated the matter and.ultimately the Supreme Court in K.I.Shephard vs. Union of India, AIR 1988 SC 686 finally decided the matter and the petitioner was given an appointment order dated 15-10-1987 with retrospective effect from 24-8-1985.Previously disciplinary proceedings were taken against the petitioner for three charges and a punishment of stoppage of three increments was imposed on 27-3-1984. The petitioner, aggrieved by that proceedings, filed an appeal. While the appeal was pending, the merger took place. The Canara Bank did not decide the appeal which is pending. But on 27-10-1989, the Canara Bank issued a charge-sheet with four charges. On 15-11-1989, a proper explanation was given for all the four charges. He pleaded that the first three charges in this charge-sheet were covered by the earlier case and without deciding the appeal, the bank cannot frame charges afresh. As regards the fourth charge which relates to July 1978, and where the allegation is that the petitioner has unauthorisedly withdrawnRs.10,000/- and has not accounted for it nor credited in the bank, he raised various contentions and informed that the amount has been credited and a chalan was also sent along with the petitioner's reply on 24-6-1978 and hence no proceedings were initiated against him regarding that incident. He claimed that the Laxmi Commercial Bank, after looking into the records and after considering his explanation, dropped the proceedings relating to the fourth charge, and hence the Canara Bank has no jurisdiction to initiate a disciplinary enquiry for that. After he submitted his explanation, on 15-11-1989, the bank withdrew the charge-sheet dated 27-10-1989 with liberty to issue an amended charge-sheet. Then on31-7-1991, the amended charge-sheet was issued. For this also, a proper reply was issued on 20th August, 1991, and it was also contended that the present charge-sheet is issued without considering the explanation given for this charge in the explanation dated 15-11-1989. It is further stated that after a lapse of 13 years, it is not proper to issue a charge-sheet for the alleged misconduct of 1978. It is claimed that it is deliberately done with a view to prevent the petitioner from getting his promotion as he was demanding for his promotion. It is also claimed that the Bank is not entitled to invoke the Canara Bank Officer Employees' (Discipline & Appeal) Regulations, 1976, to proceed against the petitioner for a lapse alleged to have taken place in 1978 July.
(3.)In this writ petition, Sri. V.Jogayya Sarma, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the Canara Bank has no jurisdiction to initiate a charge for events that took place prior to the amalgamation. It can only deal with disciplinary proceedings which are pending at the time of amalgamation. The order of appointment does not provide for initiation of fresh proceedings for earlier events and incidents. When the chargesheet was issued with four charges, a detailed reply was given on 15-11-1989. Without verifying records and without considering the explanation, it is not open to the Bank to issue the fresh charge-sheet issued on 31-7-1991.Mr. Sarma contends that apart from these things, a delay of 13 years is fatal as disciplinary proceedings are in the nature of a prosecution. Giving a charge-sheet after 13 years' delay amounts to denial of reasonable opportunity and it violates the principles of natural justice. Hence the writ petition may be allowed and the charge-sheet dated 31-7-1991 may be quashed.
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