Himachal Pradesh High Court:  The Bench of Surya Kant, CJ and Sandeep Sharma, J. allowed the petition questioning the authority of the General Manager in deciding the appeal.

In the pertinent case, petitioner joined as a Junior Clerk-cum-Cashier on 20-5-1983 and was subsequently promoted in the Officers Category, Scale-I. He was served with a charge sheet under the Himachal Pradesh Gramin Bank (Officers & Employees) Service Regulations, 2010 and after holding a regular enquiry, he was compulsorily retired from service. Being aggrieved, the petitioner filed a departmental appeal on 27-12-2017 of which the Appellate Authority under the regulations was the Chairman of the Bank. The same was declined by an Officer in the rank of General Manager. Subsequently, another appeal on 12-5-2018 was filed which was not responded to.

The respondents countered it by stating that the first appeal was a purported communication and the second was time-barred.

The Court was of the opinion that the intent of the representation made on 27-12-2017 was to submit an appeal, which was well within time. And the subsequent appeal-cum-representation was an elaboration of the grounds. And even if the appeal was filed on 12-05-2018, it was not hopelessly time barred. Thus the Court allowed the petition to the extent that the order of the General Manager was annulled.[Dharam Chand Sharma v. H.P. Gramin Bank, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 283, decided on 12-03-2019]

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