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Andhra Pradesh High Court allowing the writ petition on the (Labour & Service Law)

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Author : PJANARDHANA REDDY

Posted On 17 October 2009 at 10:35

PLEASE READ AN LAND MARK JUDGMENT ON SERVICE MATTER OF AN EMPLOYEE OF S.B.H
http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 1 of 4
PETITIONER

STATE BANK OF HYDRABAD

Vs.

RESPONDENT:

RANGACHARY

DATE OF JUDGMENT12/01/1994

BENCH:

JEEVAN REDDY, B.P. (J)

BENCH:

JEEVAN REDDY, B.P. (J)
HANSARIA B.L. (J)

CITATION:

1994 SCC Supl. (2) 479 1994 SCALE (1)633
ACT:

HEADNOTE:

JUDGMENT:

ORDER
1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal is preferred against the order of the
Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court allowing the
writ petition on the only ground that copy of the Enquiry
Officer’s report was not supplied to the respondent
delinquent officer before imposing the punishment. A few
facts need be stated.
3.The respondent was appointed as a clerk in the
appellant-Bank (State Bank of Hyderabad). On 16-10-1976, he
was promoted to the post of Officer Grade II. In the year
1981, he was working as Grade I Officer at Sangareddy
Branch. With respect to his work at the said branch certain
complaints were received and after obtaining his
explanation, three charges were framed against him. An
Enquiry Officer was appointed to inquire into those charges.
After holding the inquiry, the Enquiry Officer held that
charges 1 and 2 are not proved but charge 3 is proved.
4.The matter was placed before the disciplinary authority
as required by sub-regulation (3) of Regulation 68 of State
Bank of Hyderabad (Officers) Service Regulations, 1979. The
disciplinary authority agreed with the findings of the
Enquiry Officer and since he was not competent to impose
major penalty, which in his opinion was called for in the
case, he placed the entire record along with his
recommendations before the appointing authority as required
by sub-regulation (3) of Regulation 68. The appointing
authority, however, disagreed with the findings of the
Enquiry Officer on charges 1 and 2 (which were concurred in
by the disciplinary authority). The appointing authority
found charges 1 and 2 also proved. Accordingly, he imposed
the punishment of compulsory retirement.
5.The respondent approached the High Court by way of a
writ petition against the said order of punishment. It was
heard by a learned Single Judge in the first instance who
referred the matter to a Division Bench on the question
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whether it is necessary to give an opportunity to the
delinquent officer to show cause where the disciplinary
authority/appointing authority disagrees with the findings
recorded by the Enquiry Officer on some or all the charges.
The Division Bench considered the said question at length
and held that there is no such requirement in the rules nor
such a requirement can be deduced from the principles of
natural justice. Having so expressed itself, the Division
Bench allowed the writ petition on the ground that the copy
of the Enquiry Officer’s report was not supplied to the
respondent before imposing the punishment. This it did
purporting to follow the decision of this Court in Union of
India v. Mohd. Ramzan Khan1.
1 (1991) 1 SCC 588: 1991 SCC (L&S) 612:(1991) 16 ATC 505
481
6.The question whether the non-supply of Enquiry
Officer’s report vitiates the order of punishment and, if
so, in what manner, has been fully considered by the
Constitution Bench in Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderabad v.
B. Karunakar2. It is pursuant to the said judgment that
this matter is placed before us. Since the order of
punishment in this case is earlier to the date of judgment
in Ramzan Khan case’, it must be held that the non-supply of
Enquiry Officer’s report does not vitiate the order of
punishment.
7.Learned counsel for the respondent, however, raised
another contention based upon the language of sub-regulation
(3) of Regulation 68 aforesaid. Regulation 68 describes the
procedure to be followed in the disciplinary inquiry. It is
a very lengthy regulation and need not be reproduced in
full. It is enough if we notice sub-clause (b) of clause
(xxi) of sub-regulation (2) of Regulation 68 and subregulation
(3) of Regulation 68. ’ They read as follows:
"Regulation 68(2)(xxi)(b) : The inquiring
authority, where it is not itself the
disciplinary authority, shall forward to the
disciplinary authority the records of inquiry
which shall include
(1) the report of the inquiry prepared by it
under (a) above;
(2) the written statement of defence, if
any, submitted by the officer
referred to in clause (xv);
(3)the oral and documentary evidence
produced in the course of the inquiry;
(4) written briefs referred to in clause
(xviii) if any; and
(5) the orders, if any, made by the
disciplinary authority and the inquiring
authority in regard to the inquiry.
3.(i) The disciplinary authority, if it is not itself the
inquiring authority, may, for reasons to be recorded by it
in writing, remit the case to the inquiring authority in the
same or different for fresh or further inquiry and report,
and the inquiring authority shall thereupon proceed to hold
further inquiry according to the provisions of subregulation
(2) as far as may be.
(ii)The disciplinary authority shall, if it disagrees with
the findings of the inquiring authority on any article of
charge, record its reasons for such disagreement and record
its own findings on such charge, if the evidence on record
is sufficient for the purpose.
(iii)If the disciplinary authority, having regard to
its findings on all or any of the article of charge, is of
the opinion that any of the penalties specified in
http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 3 of 4
Regulation 67 should be imposed on the officer, it shall
notwithstanding anything contained in sub-regulation (4),
make an order imposing such penalty,
Provided that where the disciplinary authority is of the
opinion that the penalty to be imposed is any of the major
penalties specified in clauses (e), (f), (g) and (h) of
Regulation 67 and if it is lower in rank to the appointing
authority in respect of the category of officers to which
the officer belongs, it shall submit to the appointing
authority the records of the inquiry specified in clauses
(xxi)(b) of sub-regulation (2), together with its
recommendations regarding the penalty that may be imposed
and the
2 (1993) 4 SCC 727: 1993 SCC (L&S) II 84: (1993) 25 ATC 704:
JT (1993) 6 SC 1
482
appointing authority shall make an order
imposing such penalty as it considers in its
opinion appropriate.
(iv)If the disciplinary authority or the
appointing authority as the case may be,
having regard to its findings on all or any of
the articles of charge, is of the opinion that
no penalty is called for, it may pass an order
exonerating the officer concerned."
8.A reading of the above provisions shows that the
Enquiry Officer has to submit the record and his findings
along with his recommendation to the disciplinary authority.
If the disciplinary authority agrees with the findings it
can impose the punishment which it is competent to do.
However, if, disciplinary authority disagrees with the
findings of the enquiring authority on any article of charge
it is under an obligation to record its reasons for
disagreement and record its own findings on such charges.
If, however, the disciplinary authority is of the opinion
that any of the major penalties mentioned in clauses (e),
(f), (g) and (h) of Regulation 67 ought to be imposed, which
he cannot impose, he has to make over the entire record
along with his recommendations to the appointing authority.
It is open to the appointing authority to impose such
penalty as it considers appropriate in its opinion. Clause
(iv) of sub-regulation (3) shows that it is open to the
appointing authority as well as the disciplinary authority
to come to their own findings on all or any of the article
of charges and if they are of the opinion that no penalty is
called for notwithstanding the report of the Enquiry
Officer, they can pass an order exonerating the delinquent
officer. Now the contention of Mr B. Parthasarthy, learned
counsel for the respondent is that the appointing authority
cannot differ from the findings recorded by the Enquiry
Officer which have been agreed to by the disciplinary
authority. According to the learned counsel the only
jurisdiction of the appointing authority is to impose
penalty based upon the findings recorded by the Enquiry
Officer and accepted by the disciplinary authority. We are
afraid, we cannot agree with the said contention in the face
of clear language of clauses (iii) and (iv) of subregulation
(3). The last sentence in the proviso to clause
(iii) clearly says that "the appointing authority shall make
an order imposing such penalty as it considers in its
opinion appropriate". This shows that appointing authority
is not bound by the recommendation made by the disciplinary
authority regarding penalty and that he can come to his own
conclusion on the question of penalty. Now how can he come
to a different conclusion on the question of penalty, if he
http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 4 of 4
cannot differ from the recommendation of the disciplinary
authority regarding penalty and, if necessary, with his
findings. In any event, this matter is placed beyond doubt
by the language of clause (iv) which says that the
disciplinary authority or the appointing authority, as the
case may be, is of the opinion, "having regard to its
findings" on all or any of the articles of charge, that no
penalty is called for, he may pass an order exonerating the
officer. In other words, it is open to the appointing
authority to disagree with the findings of the Enquiry
Officer, which may have been affirmed by the disciplinary
authority and yet find that the articles of charge are not
proved. If he can do this, he can also do the converse
i.e., where the findings are in favour of the delinquent
officer, he can disagree with them and hold the officer
guilty. This, in our opinion, is the true construction of
sub-regulation (3) read as a whole. The appointing
authority cannot be constricted by the opinions of either
the Enquiry Officer or the
483
disciplinary authority, nor can he be reduced to a mere
instrument for imposing higher punishment. We see no reason
to shackle his discretion and authority inhering in him as
the appointing authority.
9.We are, therefore, of the opinion that there is no
substance in the submission of Mr Parthasarthy, learned
counsel for the respondent which appears to be based
exclusively upon the opening words in clause (ii) of subregulation
(3). In fact, one must read the entire subregulation
to properly appreciate its import.
10.For the above reasons, the appeal is allowed. The
judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court is set
aside and the order of punishment is restored. No costs.
11.While granting notice in the special leave petition
this Court made the following order on 7-5-1991:
"Issue notice returnable within ten weeks.
There will be interim stay of the operation of
the judgment of the High Court on condition
that the appellant-Bank will treat the
respondent as if under suspension and grant
him subsistence allowance from the date of the
High Court judgment as admissible under the
rules to one who is under suspension, subject
to the final result of the petition."
12.Now that we have allowed the appeal, the stay order
shall cease to operate. However, the respondent is entitled
to terminal benefits or other benefits, if any, according to
his conditions of service. The same shall be paid to him in
accordance with law.




Expert : raj kumar makkad

Posted On 17 October 2009 at 17:04

Thanx for bringing in our notice.



Expert : Sachin Bhatia

Posted On 17 October 2009 at 17:23

Thanks for the info.



Expert : Adinath@Avinash Patil

Posted On 18 October 2009 at 08:52

THANX FOR INFORMATION IT WILL HELP ALL MEMBERS.


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