Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: This petition was filed before the Bench of Prakash Shrivastava, J., under Article 226 of the Constitution where petitioner challenged an order by which the punishment of dismissal from service was imposed and also the order which dismissed the appeal and affirmed the order of punishment.

Facts of the case were that petitioner, a Clerk-cum-Cashier in Bank was charge-sheeted for misconduct for unauthorized absence for a period of 537 days and was issued show cause notice and thus was dismissed from his post challenged by petitioner in the appeal which was also dismissed. Petitioner submitted that he was ill and could not have attended the office thus when he joined he had submitted medical documents. He stated that he was ready to forego the backwages and prayed for his reinstatement. In terms of Regulation 22 of Nimar Kshetriya Gramin Bank (Officers & Employees) Service Regulation, 2001 the unauthorized absence of an officer or employee was misconduct liable for disciplinary action and in terms of the Regulation 38 dismissal is one of the major penalty if the misconduct is proved.

High Court was of the view that enquiry officer had applied all due process and given petitioner reasonable opportunity. It was found that petitioner had not submitted any medical documents and charge against him was duly proved. Hence, the punishment of dismissal from the post of Clerk was a reasoned order where petitioner was given opportunity. Since, misconduct by petitioner was proved his dismissal from his post was rightly imposed on him as a penalty. The Court, it was observed, under its writ jurisdiction does not act as an appellate body but examines only the illegality in the decision-making process. Therefore, this petition was dismissed. [Pushpa Shukla v. State of M.P., WP No. 2819 of 2005, dated 28-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Rekha Palli and Siddhartha Mridul, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed against the order of a Single Judge of the High Court whereby he allowed the petition of the respondent-employee against the order of his dismissal from service.

The respondent was removed from service by the appellant-bank. He was working as a Chief Inspector, Inspection and Control Division with the bank. He was removed after conducting an inquiry in which he was found guilty on the charge of committing irregularities and not discharging his duties with utmost integrity while working in the Credit Department of the erstwhile New Bank of India. The fulcrum of articles of charge was that he recommended to the Board of the bank for a grant of loan to a party regardless of the shortcomings involved in it. The respondent’s appeal against the order of removal was dismissed by the Appellate Authority. Thereafter, he preferred a writ petition against the same before the Single Judge who modified the order of removal to that of compulsory retirement. The appellant contended that in case the Single Judge was of the view that the penalty imposed on the respondent was inappropriate, he should have remitted the matter back to the disciplinary authority. It was submitted that the Single Judge overstepped his powers.

The High Court gave due consideration to the contentions made by the parties. The Court noted that the loan concerned was initiated by the officers junior to the respondent and finally approved by the Board. Even the Board failed to notice the alleged shortcomings in the loan proposal which was approved. The case against the respondent was only on account of procedural irregularities and not for any misconduct, financial irregularities or misappropriation. Furthermore, the chargesheet was issued after an inordinate delay of more than 7 years. The fact that respondent rendered unblemished service for 29 years remained uncontroverted. The Court was of the view that considering the time period which had already elapsed and only with the aim to shorten the litigation for a senior citizen, the Single Judge took upon himself the task of modifying the penalty. The only effect would be that in the evening of his life, the respondent would at least get some retiral benefits. It was observed that there may be situations where the writ court considers it unfair harassment or otherwise unnecessary to direct fresh inquiry by the competent authority and may pass a considerable order itself. Holding thus, the contention put forth by the appellant was rejected. The appeal was, thus, dismissed. [Punjab National Bank v. M.L. Bansal,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11385, decided on 20-09-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Kurian Joseph, J. delivered the judgment for himself and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, J. wherein it was held that forfeiture of gratuity, under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 is not automatic on dismissal from service.

The respondent, an employee of the appellant bank, was dismissed on account of proved misconduct involving moral turpitude Consequently, the respondent was issued a show-cause notice as to why the gratuity amount payable to him should not be forfeited. Subsequently, an explanation of the respondent was rejected and the gratuity was forfeited. The respondent challenged the said forfeiture before the Kerala High Court which held that the gratuity was payable. Aggrieved thus, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The question that arose for consideration before the Supreme Court was ‘whether forfeiture of gratuity is automatic on dismissal form service?’ The Supreme Court referred to Section 4 of the Act along with its earlier judgments in Beed District Central Coop. Bank Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, (2006) 8 SCC 514; Y.K. Singla v. PNB, (2013) 3 SCC 472 and Jaswant Singh Gill v. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd., (2007) 1 SCC 663. The Court observed that forfeiture of gratuity, either wholly and partially is permissible under  Section 6(b)(ii) only in the event that termination is on the account of riotous or disorderly conduct or any other act of violence or on account of an act constituting an offence involving moral turpitude, when he is convicted. In the present case, there was no conviction of the respondent for the misconduct which according to the bank was offence involving moral turpitude. The Court finally observed that forfeiture of gratuity is not automatic on dismissal from service, it is subject to sub-sections (5) and (6) of Section 4 of Payment of Gratuity Act. The Court found that the there was no infirmity in the order impugned. Thus, the appeal was dismissed holding it to be sans merit. [Union Bank of India v. C.G. Ajay Babu,2018 SCC OnLine SC 962, dated 14-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The Court dismissed the petition seeking to overturn the order ousting the Petitioner’s husband (deceased) on the grounds of prolonged absence without prior approval or information.

The case before the Court was that the employee, a constable in the disciplined forces, met with an accident and lost his physical and mental well-being and ultimately committed suicide. During the period of his illness he had abstained from going to work and did not inform anybody about his absence or the reason thereof, even after several notices being served on the employee.

The Court observed that there is nothing on record to show that the employee or any of his family members had informed the department about his absence and if a punishment has been determined for this then it is not a violation of natural justice by the department. [Savitribai v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2017 SCC OnLine MP 1196 decided on 14.09.2017]