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The Disciplinary Authority or any other authority higher than it may impose any penalties on any off

CANARA BANK AND ORS. Vs.  KAMESHWAR SINGH, CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 66­67 OF 2020 on 8th January 2020.

Canara Bank and its functionaries have filed these appeals challenging the judgment of the Division Bench were allowed by the Supreme Court consisting the bench comprising of Justice S. ABDUL NAZEER and Justice SANJIV KHANNA.

The respondent was working as the Scale I officer in the applleant’s bank. He was suspended by the Deputy General Manager of the Bank in contemplation of departmental proceedings. The respondent denied the misconduct placed on him but the bank was not satisfied.

So the departmental proceedings were initiated against the respondent, 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. The respondent nominated one Shri B.K. Sinha as defence representative to participate in the departmental inquiry. The inquiry officer held that the respondent is guilty.  The General Manager and Disciplinary Authority have imposed the punishment of compulsory retirement upon the respondent according to Regulation 4(h) of the Canara Bank Officers and Employees (Discipline and Appeal) Regulations, 1976. The respondent’s compulosory retirement was filed for an appeal in the appellate authority which was rejected.

The respondent challenged the said order by filing a writ a petition before the High Court, in awaiting settlement review application filed by the respondent was also rejected.

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 because the learned single judge held that the general manager’s conclusion was justified but neither the Appellate Authority nor the Reviewing Authority has answered respondent in his appeal. The matter is posted for reconsideration to the appellate authority by the learned single judge.

Both the bank and the respondent has challenged this order in the Division Bench. This bench has posted the matter for reconsideration to the Deputy General Manager as they found that the General Manager being an authority higher to Disciplinary Authority cannot exercise the power of the Disciplinary Authority.

The SC going through Regulation 5 of the Discipline and Appeal Regulations, 1976, held that the any authority higher than the Disciplinary Authority can order penalties against the person who is the guilt of his conduct. In this case, the General Manager is higher in the position than the Disciplinary Authority. “Having regard to Regulation 5(3), the Division Bench was not justified in holding that the General manager has no authority to pass the order of punishment.”

The order of the Division Bench has set aside and the learned single judge order has been restored by the Supreme Court. “The learned Single Judge remitting the matter to the authorised Appellate Authority for reconsideration of the appeal is restored.”

The appeals made by the bank are allowed.

View/ Download the Judgment: CANARA BANK AND ORS. vs. KAMESHWAR SINGH

– Manusri Ramakrishna

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