The appeal has been filed before the Honorable Supreme Court pursuing the order passed by the Honorable High Court of Bombay setting aside the appeal for reinstatement for the then respondent to the position of service with due payment of all damages caused to the then respondent due to such act of the appellant.
The appellant was working as the branch manager in the SBI, governing and regulating the loan service to the customers. He provided some service without prior approval of the seniors to which after an investigation some irregularities were found. The charge-sheet manifesting the irregularities were found and were submitted to him. Various charges pertaining to some illegal transaction were derived, and the investigation officers or the enquiry officers providing evidence for illegal transaction held the person liable for the explanation of loan being lend to his wife of some considerable amount without completing the formalities and without proper compliance of the rules and regulation of the bank in this behalf. The authority then discussed the matter and reached to a fair conclusion that the only pecuniary punishment should be given that will be in compensatory in nature, and the damages done can be indemnified.
The punishing authority or committee reached to a decision in mutual consensus that the salary by one stage of the branch manager should be reduced. The branch manager, after being intimated of the decision by the authority, provided a reply representing his argument to the committee-in-charge. However, after reading the reply filed by the appellant, the committee reached to the conclusion to advance the punishment awarded to the appellant, and instead of pecuniary punishment, he should be removed from the service of the bank. The appellant then filed a request petition to the chairman of the bank to review the decision of the committee, following such petition was dismissed, and the petitioner was denied of any review. Enraged with the decision of the Appellate Authority the then respondent filed an appeal against the order of the Appellate Authority and pleaded for reinstatement of the position and should be provided with the completed wages and other damages that occurred to him. The Division Bench of the High Court of Bombay upholding the judgment of the Appellate Authority set aside the petition of the respondent approached this court.
1. Is the decision taken by the Appellate Authority for dismissing the person from the position of service in SBI valid?
2. Whether by not following the principle of Natural Justice? (Opportunity of being heard)
3. Did the Appellate Authority took the unproved charges into consideration while enhancing the punishment?
The Honorable Supreme Court after hearing all the arguments stating its observation said that though it was earlier mentioned, the branch of the manager of SBI provided the loan to his wife without complying the rules and regulation was not encased and there no actual damage to the bank it was important to understand the intention of the party, and here this act is complete proof of the ill-intention of the appellant.
Though taking into consideration, the contention of the appellant’s counsel that the appellant was only punished on the charge of disbursement of the loan and other charges were not provided sufficient evidence for, it cannot be ignored the disbursement of the loan in itself grave ill-intent act of the party with serious consequences. The Appellate Authority has taken the decision pertaining the loan charge is well within the limit of the authority granted to them and also such decision is in compliance of the rules and regulation provided under the Service Rules, so this Court finds it will be completely unfair and unjust to interfere with the decision of the Authority.
The said principle of Natural Justice (an opportunity of being heard) should be provided to each and every individual, and no one should deprive someone of this justice, but such principle rule have derived out various cases where it was adopted with an understanding that this principle should adopt the modifications and changes that takes place in different cases, this principle will not be straitjacketed for any purpose. Further, the Honorable Court observes that the appropriate authority will be the sole adjudicator of the principle and its governance and herein the court uphold the power of the authority to dismiss the case without being providing the opportunity to another party of being heard. In the present appeal, the appellant has already agreed to and admitted his offence which was the disbursement of the loan in complete non-compliance of the rules of the Bank, so no question of the principle of Natural Justice and its application comes into picture or court finds no reason to the extent the meaning or scope of the principle. The court stands in an appropriate position in deciding that where the integrity and faith in the job is the utmost demand as the requirement though not expressed by the employer makes no argument that it should not be considered to try the matter which such considerable qualities as expected. The court should not provide any benefit of the doubt where the person has utilized the position he was in to take undue advantages for him or his wife or for any matter not mentioned hereinabove. The court has rightly decided to provide a serious analysis of the matter, and no leniency will be tolerated or should be tolerated.
The Court decided any person working in any capacity wherein the person deals with the money in relation to public or is in such a capacity that he/she needs to maintain the transparency with the decision to be taken in relation to such money could not be isolated of his duties with trustworthiness and high integrity as the inevitable qualities required for the job. Hence under this taking, the court finds the punishment awarded and the reason provided, correct.
The Honorable Supreme Court while upholding the Judgment of the High Court of Bombay dismissed the plea of the appellant. Further, the court decided that the payment of a gratuity and pension should be provided to the appellant irrespective of the service years.