UNITED BANK OF INDIA VS BACHAN PRASAD LALL

UNITED BANK OF INDIA VS BACHAN PRASAD LALL

NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO(S). 2949 OF 2011
UNITED BANK OF INDIA …..APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
BACHAN PRASAD LALL ….RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
Rastogi, J.
1. The   appellant,   being   dissatisfied   with   the   judgment   of   the
Division   Bench   of   the   High   Court   dated   11th  May,   2010,   has
preferred the present appeal.
2. The facts relevant for the purpose culled out from the record
are that the respondent employee joined service as a Clerk­cumTypist in the year 1973 and while in service committed serious
irregularities   in   discharge   of   his   duties,   was   placed   under
1
suspension by an Order dated 7th August, 1995. He was later served
with the charge­sheet along with the statement of allegation on 2nd
March   1996.     After   the   disciplinary   inquiry   was   conducted   in
accordance with the disciplinary rules of the Bank, the inquiry
officer   found   the   charges   proved.     In   consequence   thereof,   the
respondent   was   dismissed   from   service   by   an   Order   dated   6th
December,   2000   and   the   appellate   authority   also   rejected   the
appeal preferred by the respondent employee by an Order dated 24th
April, 2004.
3. The reference was made for adjudication by the appropriate
Government   in   exercise   of   its   powers   under   clause(d)   of   subSection(1)   and   sub­Section   (2A)   of   Section   10   of   the   Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947(hereinafter being referred to as the “Act 1947”)
vide Order dated 27th July, 2005.  The same is as under:­
“Whether the action of the management of United Bank of India,
Patna in awarding the punishment of dismissal to Shri Bachan
Prasad Lal, clerk­cum­typist of Katihar Branch of UBI for alleged
involvement of fraud is legal and justified?   If not, to what relief
Shri Bachan Prasad Lal is entitled?”
4. The   learned   Tribunal,   after   taking   into   consideration   the
record of the domestic inquiry, finally arrived to the conclusion that
2
inquiry was fair and proper and the charges stood proved but while
exercising power under Section 11A of the Act 1947, the Tribunal
under   its   Award   dated   30th  December,   2005   observed   that   the
punishment awarded to the respondent employee of dismissal is not
commensurate with the charge levelled against him and accordingly
while upholding the allegations levelled against the respondent in
reference   to   which   the   inquiry   was   conducted,   substituted   the
punishment   of   dismissal   with   an   order   of   reinstatement   after
lowering down of two stages in his basic salary that he was getting
at the time of his dismissal.  It was also held that there will be no
payment of salary and allowances for the period of his suspensionsave and except payment of subsistence allowance.
5. On a writ petition being preferred by the appellant in assailing
the interference made by the Tribunal in exercise of its power under
Section 11A of the Act 1947, the learned Single Judge by an Order
dated   25th  July,   2006,   dismissed   the   petition   holding   that   the
Tribunal has a discretion under Section 11A of the Act 1947 and
held that it has rightly been exercised which further came to be
3
challenged at the instance of the appellant in Letters Patent Appeal
before the Division Bench of the High Court.
6. The Division Bench has upheld the finding returned by the
Tribunal and  confirmed by the learned Single Judge under the
order impugned which has been categorically referred to in para 3
of the Order.     However, the Division Bench was not inclined to
interfere despite the fact that the respondent was found guilty after
regular inquiry been held for misappropriation of funds and further
observed that there should not be any compassion in the judicial
proceedings which should be shown to the delinquent who commits
such nature of fraud in discharge of his duties but still refused to
interfere with the Order of the Tribunal for the reason that the
respondent employee by that time had retired on attaining the age
of superannuation in 2007.  The relevant para is as under:­
“3. It appears to us that the Tribunal agreed with the finding of
fact recorded by the learned Inquiry Officer that had found him
guilty of misappropriation of funds.  However, the learned Tribunal
also observed that it was perhaps a case of bona fide error leading
to alteration in the punishment.  We feel that the learned Tribunal
was not justified in disagreeing with the finding of fact recorded by
the learned Inquiry Officer.  It does not appear to us to be a case of
bona fide error, but was really a case of well though­out plan to
divert funds from other accounts to a fictitious account opened by
4
him. In such a situation, reduction in punishment also becomes a
case of uncalled for interference. The learned Tribunal also seems
to have given weightage to the domestic situation in the employee's
family, which we once again feel to be a wholly unjustified ground
to dilute the guilt of the employee. Law is well settled that needless
compassion should not be injected into judicial proceedings. We do
not agree with the order of the learned Tribunal nor that of the
learned Writ Court.  However, we would have interfered with the
order of the learned Tribunal but we refrain from doing so because
the employee has already reached the age of superannuation way
back in the year 2007.”
      (emphasis supplied)
7. We   have   heard   learned   counsel   for   the   parties   and   also
perused the material available on record.
8. The respondent employee was served with the charge­sheet
dated 2nd March, 1996 with the following allegations:­
“1. The charge sheet dated 2.3.96 against Sri B.P. Lal reads as
follows:
(a)   Sri   Bachan   Prasad   Lal   was   posted   as   Typist­cum­Clerk   in
Katihar Branch from 4.12.90 to 1.7.95. During this tenure he
also worked as Temporary Special Assistant & Teller Clerk.
(b)   During   this   tenure,   on   different   dates,   he   prepared   nine
fraudulent   credit   transfer   vouchers   aggregating   Rs.53,465/­
without giving full details/description of F/D A/cs numbers in
five vouchers and in the rest mentioning A/c no. of different
F/D   account   holders   on   the   pretext   of   payment   of   interest
towards fixed deposit account and got the full amount credited
in S/B A/c No.8762 in the name of Smt. Asha Devi.
(c)   It is revealed that no F/D A/c in the name of Asha Devi could
be traced on the basis of available branch records/documents.
In   case   of   Transfer   Credit   Vouchers   bearing   F/D   A/c   No.
persons other than Smt. Asha Devi no such mandate for credit
5
of monthly interest was given by the respective account holders
hence preparation of vouchers were unwarranted.
(d)  It is further revealed that he had irregularly opened the S.B. a/c
No.8762 in the name of Smt. Asha Devi who is not ... illegible ...
(e)   He is a Special Assistant released/ called the credit vouchers
posted by the Ledger keener to the credit of S.B. a/c no. 8762
with but ensuring that many of such transfer credit vouchers
were not signed by the other Officials as second signatory.
(f)   The   amount   so   credited   in   the   S.B/   a/c   no.   8762   were
subsequently withdrawn by withdrawal slips on various dates.
The draws signatures as appearing on the above with drawal
slips as well as on the back of there slips were forged by him
and the said signatures on the withdrawal slips were verified by
him and also passed for payment by him.
(g)  Moreover, he received payment of the withdrawal slips forging
the signatures of the drawer on the back of the withdrawal slips
of   dated  9.1.93   for  Rs.  5,   100/­,  25.8.94  for   Rs.   10,000/­,
3.9.94 for Rs. 9,000/­ 16.9.96. for Rs.10,000/­ & 27.1.95 for
Rs. 5,000/­
(h)  In order to accommodate amount of the above fraudulent credit
entries he altered/adjusted & debit and credit entries in the
transfer   journal   as   well   as   amount   of   corresponding   debit
vouchers on 19.12.90, 20.12.90, 14.1.91 & 11.7.91 without any
authentication. He also did not mention the journal number on
the vouchers.
Thus,   by   his   aforesaid   acts   he   perpetrated   fraudulent   misappropriation of Rs. 53,465/­ and thereby causing financial loss to
the Bank.”
9. The nature of allegation against the respondent employee was
of fraudulently preparing nine credit transfer vouchers on various
dates on the pretext of payment of interest towards fixed deposits
and crediting the whole amount to one saving account opened in
6
the   name   of   one   Smt.   Asha   Devi   (admittedly   the   fake   account
prepared by respondent employee).   In order to adjust the said
amount, he manipulated the other book records of the Bank using
forged signatures.   After such nature of allegations stood proved,
the disciplinary authority, after taking into consideration the record
of inquiry and the post held by the respondent employee, punished
him with the penalty of dismissal from service.
10. The finding of guilt recorded by the inquiry officer in his report
was   confirmed   at   all   later   stages   by   the   disciplinary/appellate
authority and even after judicial scrutiny by the Division Bench in
the impugned judgment but still refrained from interference on the
premise that the employee had superannuated in the year 2007. 
11. In our considered view, looking into seriousness of the nature
of   allegations   levelled   against   the   respondent   employee,   the
punishment of dismissal inflicted upon him in no manner could be
said to be shockingly disproportionate which would have required
to be interfered with by the Tribunal in exercise of its power under
Section 11A of the Act 1947.  At the same time, merely because the
employee stood superannuated in the meanwhile, will not absolve
7
him from the misconduct which he had committed in discharge of
his duties and looking into the nature of misconduct which he had
committed,  he  was   not   entitled   for  any   indulgence.     The  Bank
employee always holds the position of trust where honesty and
integrity are the  sine qua non  but it would never be advisable to
deal with such matters leniently.
12. Consequently,   the   appeal   succeeds   and   is   allowed.     The
interference   made   by   the   Tribunal   and   the   High   Court   in   the
impugned judgment is hereby set aside.  No costs.
13. Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.
       ……………………….J.
(AJAY RASTOGI)
       ……………………….J.
(ABHAY S. OKA)
NEW DELHI
FEBRUARY 11, 2022
8

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

संविधान की प्रमुख विशेषताओं का उल्लेख | Characteristics of the Constitution of India

100 Questions on Indian Constitution for UPSC 2020 Pre Exam

भारतीय संविधान से संबंधित 100 महत्वपूर्ण प्रश्न उतर