Boloram Bordoloi vs Lakhimi Gaolia Bank . on 8 February, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Boloram Bordoloi vs Lakhimi Gaolia Bank . on 8 February, 2021

Author: Ashok Bhushan

Bench: Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy

     C.A.No.4394 of 2010



                                                                          REPORTABLE

                                     IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                      CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                       CIVIL APPEAL NO.4394 OF 2010

                      Boloram Bordoloi                                   …..Appellant

                           Versus

                      Lakhimi Gaolia Bank & Ors.                      …..Respondents



                                               JUDGMENT

R. Subhash Reddy, J.

1. This civil appeal is filed by the appellant in Writ Appeal

No.361 of 2008 on the file of Gauhati High Court, aggrieved by

the order dated 03.04.2009. By the aforesaid order, the order

dated 08.06.2007 passed by the learned Single Judge in Writ

Petition No.219 of 2006 was confirmed. The learned Single

Signature Not Verified
Judge, while confirming the order of compulsory retirement in
Digitally signed by
ARJUN BISHT

disciplinary proceedings initiated against the appellant, has held
Date: 2021.02.08
17:10:24 IST
Reason:

that withholding of service benefits as well as pensionary dues to

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

the appellant is illegal and issued directions to pay the retiral

benefits.

2. The appellant was the Manager of the first respondent­

bank. On the basis of certain allegations levelled against him,

disciplinary proceedings were initiated and charge memo dated

18.06.2004 was issued. The substance of the charges is

extracted in the order passed by the learned Single Judge. In

view of the reply filed by him on 15.07.2004, denying the

charges, the respondent­bank having not satisfied with the

explanation, has decided to order departmental enquiry against

the appellant. The Enquiry Officer, after completing the enquiry

by appreciating the oral and documentary evidence on record,

has held that all the charges, i.e. charge nos.1 to 5, framed

against the appellant were proved. In view of the findings

recorded by the Enquiry Officer, the respondent­bank has

proposed to inflict the punishment of compulsory retirement on

the appellant. Based on the findings recorded in the

departmental enquiry, has passed order imposing the

punishment of “compulsory retirement” from service. The

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

appellant was unsuccessful before the departmental appellate

authority, i.e., Board of Directors of the Bank and the appellate

authority has dismissed his appeal confirming the order of the

disciplinary authority. Challenging the order of the disciplinary

authority imposing the punishment of compulsory retirement, as

confirmed by the appellate authority, the appellant approached

the High Court by filing Writ Petition (C) No.219 of 2006 before

the Gauhati High Court. The learned Single Judge vide detailed

judgment and order dated 08.06.2007 has not interfered with the

order of compulsory retirement but at the same time has found

that withholding of the service benefits including pensionary

dues was illegal and issued directions for payment of such

benefits to the appellant. As against the order of the learned

Single Judge, the appellant has preferred Writ Appeal No.361 of

2008. The Division Bench of the High Court, by the impugned

order, has dismissed the same by confirming the order of the

learned Single Judge.

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

3. We have heard Sri Parthiv Goswami, learned counsel for

the appellant and Sri Rajesh Kumar, learned counsel appearing

for the respondent­bank.

4. Learned counsel for the appellant has mainly contended

that after completion of enquiry, even before furnishing a copy of

enquiry report, the disciplinary authority has issued show cause

notice dated 30.07.2005 vide Ref.

No.LBG/I&V/PP&PA/154/08/2005­06 by indicating proposed

punishment of compulsory retirement. It is submitted that such

conclusion arrived at by the disciplinary authority even before

the service of enquiry report, is illegal. To buttress his

submission, the learned counsel has placed reliance on judgment

of this Court in the case of Managing Director, ECIL,

Hyderabad & Ors. v. B. Karunakar & Ors. (1993) 4 SCC 727

and the judgment of this Court in the case of State Bank of

India & Ors. v. Mohammad Badruddin (2019) 16 SCC 69.

Further submission of the learned counsel was that the

disciplinary authority has not recorded any reasons in the order

dated 29.08.2005 while imposing the punishment of compulsory

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

retirement and similarly the appellate authority has dismissed

the appeal without recording reasons. Lastly, it is submitted by

learned counsel that the punishment imposed is disproportionate

to the gravity of charges, as such, prayed for setting aside the

impugned orders.

5. On the other hand, Sri Rajesh Kumar, learned counsel

appearing for the respondent­bank, by taking us to the charges

framed against the appellant and the findings recorded by the

Enquiry Officer, has submitted that the charges framed against

the appellant are grave and serious and in view of the proved

misconduct of the appellant who was working as a Manager in

the bank, the order of compulsory retirement was passed by the

disciplinary authority. It is submitted that having regard to

charges framed against the appellant, punishment imposed

cannot be said to be disproportionate. Further it is submitted

that after enquiry is completed it is always open for the

disciplinary authority to indicate the punishment in the show

cause notice, by enclosing a copy of the Enquiry Report. It is

submitted that the respondents have followed procedure

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

contemplated under the Rules and the procedure adopted is in

conformity with the ratio laid down by this Court in the case of

Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderabad (supra). It is submitted

that having regard to facts of the case, the judgment in the case

of Mohammad Badruddin (supra) has no application to support

the case of the appellant.

6. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties, we have

perused the impugned order, the order of the learned Single

Judge and other material placed on record.

7. The appellant was working as a Manager of the

respondent­bank. A perusal of the charges, which are held to be

proved by the Enquiry Officer, reveal that he has sanctioned and

disbursed loans without following the due procedure

contemplated under law and also there are allegations of

misappropriation, disbursing loans irregularly in some instances

to (a) units without any shop/business; (b) more than one loan to

members of same family etc. The Enquiry Officer, after

considering oral and documentary evidence on record, has held

that all the charges are proved. Based on the findings recorded

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

by Enquiry Officer, the disciplinary authority has tentatively

decided to impose punishment of compulsory retirement.

Disciplinary authority has issued show cause notice dated

30.07.2005 by enclosing a copy of the enquiry report. In

response to the show cause notice, the appellant has submitted

his comments vide letter dated 16.08.2005 indicating that due to

work pressure some operational lapses have occurred. Further

he has also pleaded that if the bank has sustained any loss due

to his fault, he is ready to bear such loss from his own source.

After filing the response to the show cause notice, order is passed

by disciplinary authority imposing punishment of compulsory

retirement. After Enquiry Officer records his findings, it is

always open for the disciplinary authority to arrive at tentative

conclusion of proposed punishment and it can indicate to the

delinquent employee by enclosing a copy of the enquiry report.

Though the learned counsel for the appellant has argued that

even before tentative conclusion is arrived at by the disciplinary

authority, the enquiry report has to be served upon him, but

there is no such proposition laid down in the judgment of this

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

Court in the case of Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderabad

(supra). In the aforesaid judgment of this Court it is held that

delinquent employee is entitled to a copy of the enquiry report of

the enquiry officer before the disciplinary authority takes a

decision on the question of guilt of the delinquent. Merely

because a show cause notice is issued by indicating the proposed

punishment it cannot be said that disciplinary authority has

taken a decision. A perusal of the show cause notice dated

30.07.2005 itself makes it clear that along with the show cause

notice itself enquiry report was also enclosed. As such, it cannot

be said that the procedure prescribed under the rules was not

followed by respondent­bank. We are of the view that the

judgment of this Court in the case of Managing Director, ECIL,

Hyderabad (supra) is not helpful to the case of the appellant.

Further, it is well settled that if the disciplinary authority accepts

the findings recorded by the Enquiry Officer and passes an order,

no detailed reasons are required to be recorded in the order

imposing punishment. The punishment is imposed based on the

findings recorded in the enquiry report, as such, no further

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

elaborate reasons are required to be given by the disciplinary

authority. As the departmental appeal was considered by the

Board of Directors in the meeting held on 10.12.2005, the

Board’s decision is communicated vide order dated 21.12.2005 in

Ref. No.LGB/I&V/Appeal/31/02/2005­06. In that view of the

matter, we do not find any merit in the submission of the learned

counsel for the appellant that orders impugned are devoid of

reasons.

8. Even, the last submission of the learned counsel for the

appellant that the punishment imposed is disproportionate to the

gravity of charges, also cannot be accepted. The charges framed

against the appellant in the departmental enquiry are serious

and grave. If we look at the response, in his letter dated

16.08.2005, to the show cause notice issued by the disciplinary

authority, it is clear that he has virtually admitted the charges,

however, tried to explain that such lapses occurred due to work

pressure. Further he went to the extent of saying – he is ready to

bear the loss suffered by the bank on account of his lapses. The

manager of a bank plays a vital role in managing the affairs of

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

the bank. A bank officer/employee deals with the public money.

The nature of his work demands vigilance with the in­built

requirement to act carefully. If an officer/employee of the bank

is allowed to act beyond his authority, the discipline of the bank

will disappear. When the procedural guidelines are issued for

grant of loans, officers/employees are required to follow the same

meticulously and any deviation will lead to erosion of public trust

on the banks. If the manager of a bank indulges in such

misconduct, which is evident from the charge memo dated

18.06.2004 and the findings of the enquiry officer, it indicates

that such charges are grave and serious. Inspite of proved

misconduct on such serious charges, disciplinary authority itself

was liberal in imposing the punishment of compulsory

retirement. In that view of the matter, it cannot be said that the

punishment imposed in the disciplinary proceedings on the

appellant, is disproportionate to the gravity of charges. As such,

this submission of the learned counsel for the appellant also

cannot be accepted.

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C.A.No.4394 of 2010

9. For the aforesaid reasons, this appeal is devoid of merit,

same is dismissed with no order as to costs.

……………………………J.

[Ashok Bhushan]

……………………………J.

[R. Subhash Reddy]

……………………………J.

[M.R. Shah]
New Delhi.

February 08, 2021

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