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Disciplinary proceedings not to be initiated against a cooperative society’s retired employee

Andiyannan v. The Joint registrar of Co-operative Societies, W.P. No. 2602 of 2009 & 12007 0f 2011 – 27th March, 2015

In this case it was held that at no cost should a disciplinary proceeding be initiated against a member of a co operative society after his retirement unless & until it is proved or there are strong reasonable grounds to show that he is directly or indirectly involved or responsible for any loss or liability incurred by the co operative society.

In the W.P. 2602/2009, a writ petition was filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, praying to the Court to issue a writ of Certiorarified Mandamus to quash the order of the 1st Respondent in Revision Petition No.5, calling for the records which are pertaining to the order of the 1st Respondent dated 7.1.2009 & in W.P. 12007/2011, this writ petition is also filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, but praying to the Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to consequentially direct the 2nd respondent to return back amounts recovered from both the retirement benefit & gratuity of Rs. 36,844 & Rs.17, 116 respectively with the reasonable amounts of interest money.

Two issues/questions of law were raised in this case and they are as follows

  1. Whether the disciplinary proceedings initiated against an employee of a co operative society which is governed by the Tamil Nadu Co operative Societies Act, 1983, can be done even after the retirement of the so called employee?

  2. Whether Section 87 of the Tamil Nadu Co operative Societies Act, 1983 can be considered as an enabling provision and thus impliedly empower the disciplinary authority to continue the disciplinary proceedings even after the retirement of an employee of a Co operative society that is registered under the Tamil Nadu Co operative Societies Act, 1983.

The learned counsel who had appeared on behalf of the petitioner for W.P.12007/2011, Contended and drew to the attention of the Court that Section 87 of the Tamil Nadu Co operative societies Act, 1983, here after is to be addressed as “The Act” & the section is concerned only with surcharge, which is no way relevant in deciding the continuity of the disciplinary action against an employee of a co operative society after his retirement under the Act. But Per Contra, the learned Additional Advocate General had submitted that the both questions of law referred to the Bench are inter connected to one another & according to him Section 87 is an enabling provision & it empowers the disciplinary authority too & not just merely concerned about the collection of surcharge amount which is due & payable to the co operative society.

The learned standing counsel appearing for the Respondent, i.e., the Co operative Society argued that the both of the questions of law raised before the bench had been answered and that too in the favour of the respondents plus in many cases the Court had allowed the disciplinary authority to initiate disciplinary proceedings against an employee of a co operative society or bank even after his retirement. Also, disciplinary proceedings that had been commenced before the employee’s retirement but haven’t been finished can be resumed even after his retirement & appropriate orders are to be passed by the authority as per the relevant service rules or bye laws of the society.

Both of the learned counsels as well as the bench have examined many cases such as Bhagirathi Jena v. Board of Directors, Ramesh Chandra Sharma v. Punjab National Bank, Thangavel v. The Chair man of Common Cadre Committee, Anant Kulkarni v. Y.P. Education Society, Girijan Co-operative Corporation Ltd v. K. Satyanarayana Rao, U.P. State Sugar Corporation Ltd v. Kamal Swaroop Tondon, The registrar of co operative societies v. G. Manoharan, Dev Prakash Tiwari v. Uttar Pradesh Co operative Institutional Services Board, R. Murugesan v. Joint Registrar of Co op Societies

The answer given to the 1st question of law by the bench is that under the TN Co op societies Act, 1983, once an employee retired from the services of co operative cannot afterwards be called for a disciplinary proceeding if there is an absence of service rules or bye laws that states to continue departmental proceedings after the retirement of the employee. So the employer has no authority to call the retired employee

The answer given to the 2nd question of law by the bench is that the term ‘surcharge’ u/s. 87 of the Act, is not penal in nature, but if loss has happened due to the employee, that can be recovered. But disciplinary proceedings cannot be initiated against an employee, unless there is a service rule or bye law

Nardhana Ram

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