Supreme Court of India
Canara Bank vs Kameshwar Singh on 8 January, 2020
Author: S. Abdul Nazeer
Bench: S. Abdul Nazeer, Sanjiv Khanna
1 REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 6667 OF 2020 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) Nos. 3647736478 of 2017) CANARA BANK AND ORS. … APPELLANTS VERSUS KAMESHWAR SINGH … RESPONDENT JUDGMENT
S. ABDUL NAZEER, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. Canara Bank and its functionaries have filed these appeals
Signature Not Verified
challenging the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of
Digitally signed by
Judicature at Patna in LPA Nos. 1430 of 2013 and 849 of 2013,
dated 14.07.2017, whereby the order of punishment passed against
the respondent by the Appellate Authority, namely, the General
Manager of the Bank, was quashed and the matter was remitted to
the Disciplinary Authority, namely, the Deputy General Manager to
proceed with the inquiry from the stage of receipt of the inquiry
report and to conclude the proceedings in accordance with law.
3. The brief facts necessary for the disposal of these appeals are
that the respondent was appointed on the post of Clerk with the
AppellantBank in the year 1978 and was subsequently granted
promotion under the relevant rules of the bank. On 08.08.2008 the
respondent was posted and working as Scale I officer of the bank at
its Swarajpuri, Gaya Branch. He was put under suspension with
effect from 20.09.2008 in view of the order passed by the Deputy
General Manager of the Bank in contemplation of a departmental
proceedings. The respondent was served with a chargesheet dated
14.02.2009 containing articles of charges and statement of
imputations to articles of charges. The respondent submitted his
explanation on 10.03.2009 denying the allegation of misconduct
and praying therein that the proceeding initiated against him may
be dropped and order of suspension passed against him may be
4. However, the Bank not being satisfied with the explanation
furnished by the respondent, decided to proceed with the
departmental proceeding initiated against him. One Shri L.N. Jha,
the Senior Manager of the Bank was appointed as Inquiring
Authority and one Shri S.K. Sinha, the Manager of the Bank was
appointed as the Presenting Officer. A preliminary inquiry was held
on 28.04.2009. Regular inquiry was commenced w.e.f. 18.05.2009.
The respondent nominated one Shri B.K. Sinha as defence
representative to participate in the departmental inquiry. He
participated in the said inquiry and presented the defence of the
5. In the departmental inquiry, four persons were examined as
management witnesses. One Deepak Kumar Singh was examined
as defence witness. Apart from the oral testimonies of the
witnesses, some material documents were also produced from both
sides, which were marked as management exhibits and defence
6. On the basis of the materials on record, the Inquiring Officer
submitted his report dated 02.07.2009 holding the respondent
guilty of the charges. A copy of the inquiry report was forwarded to
the respondent by letter dated 03.07.2009 issued under the
signature of the Deputy General Manager and Disciplinary
Authority. The respondent was called upon to file his
representation or submissions on the findings arrived at by the
Inquiring Authority. Accordingly, the respondent submitted his
representation/submissions. Thereafter, an order dated 18.8.2009
was passed by the General Manager and Disciplinary Authority,
whereby the punishment of compulsory retirement was inflicted
upon the respondent in terms of Regulation 4(h) of the Canara
Bank Officers and Employees (Discipline and Appeal) Regulations,
1976 (for short ‘Discipline and Appeal Regulations, 1976’). The
appeal preferred by the respondent was dismissed by the Appellate
Authority on 22.03.2010.
7. The respondent challenged the said order by filing a writ
petition before the High Court in Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.
10295 of 2010. During the pendency of this writ petition, review
application filed by the respondent was also rejected by the
ChairmancumReviewing Authority by order dated 30.07.2010.
The Interlocutory Application filed by the respondent seeking
amendment of the writ petition in order to assail the validity and
correctness of the order passed by the Reviewing Authority was
allowed by the High Court.
8. Learned Single Judge came to the conclusion that the General
Manager of the Bank was justified in passing the order in view of
Regulation 5(3) of the Discipline and Appeal Regulations, 1976.
However, the learned Single Judge found that neither the Appellate
Authority nor the Reviewing Authority have answered the grounds
taken on behalf of the respondent in his appeal and review petition
respectively. Therefore, the learned Single Judge remitted the
matter, at the first instance, to the Appellate Authority for
reconsideration of the matter as under:
“For the reasons recorded above, the matter
requires reconsideration by the specified and
authorized Appellate Authority as also the
Reviewing Authority. They are under legal
obligations to decide all the issues raised and
grounds taken on behalf of the petitioner in
his memo of appeal as also in review petition,
which has not been done in the present case.
Since the matter is being remitted to the
appellate authority, at the first instance,
therefore, this Court is not inclined to decide
other issues raised on behalf of the parties,
which have been noted in the preceding
9. The Bank has challenged this order in LPA No. 1430 of 2013
before the Division Bench. The respondent has also challenged the
order of the learned Single Judge in LPA No. 849 of 2013. The
Division Bench after considering the rival contentions of the parties,
has set aside the order of the learned Single Judge and remitted the
matter to the Deputy General Manager to proceed with the inquiry
from the stage of receipt of the inquiry report and thereafter to
conclude the proceeding in accordance with law.
10. We have heard learned counsel for the parties.
11. The Division Bench has interfered with the order of the
learned Single Judge on the ground that the General Manager being
an authority higher to Disciplinary Authority cannot exercise the
power of the Disciplinary Authority. Therefore, the Division Bench
quashed the order of punishment and remitted the matter to the
Disciplinary Authority, namely, the Deputy General Manager for
fresh consideration in accordance with law.
12. Regulation 5 of the Discipline and Appeal Regulations, 1976,
provides for the authority to institute disciplinary proceedings and
impose penalties, which is reproduced below:
“5 Authority to institute disciplinary proceedings
and impose penalties:
(1) The Managing Director or any other
authority empowered by him or by general or
special order may institute or direct the
Disciplinary Authority to institute
disciplinary proceedings against an officer
employee of the bank.
(2) The Disciplinary Authority may himself
institute disciplinary proceedings.
(3) The Disciplinary Authority or any other
authority higher than it, may impose any of
the penalties specified in regulation 4 on any
13. It is clear from the aforesaid Regulation 5(3) that the
Disciplinary Authority or any other authority higher than it, may
impose any penalties specified in Regulation 4 on any officer
employee. In the instant case, the departmental proceedings
against the respondent were initiated by the Deputy General
Manager being the Disciplinary Authority. But the order of
punishment has been passed by the General Manager, who was
higher than the Disciplinary Authority. Having regard to Regulation
5(3), the Division Bench was not justified in holding that General
manager has no authority to pass the order of punishment.
14. In the result, the appeals succeed and are accordingly allowed.
The order of the Division Bench impugned herein is set aside and
the order of the learned Single Judge remitting the matter to the
authorised Appellate Authority for reconsideration of the appeal is
15. Parties to bear their respective costs.
(S. ABDUL NAZEER)
January 08, 2020.