High Court of Judicature at Allahabad
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Shyam Bahadur Kashyap v. Bank Of Baroda & Others - WRIT - A No. 23469 of 1990  RD-AH 413 (30 July 2004)
Judgment reserved on 7.7.2004
Judgment delivered on 30.7.2004
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 23469 of 1990
Shyam Bahadur ... Petitioner
Bank of Barod and others ... Respondents.
Hon. Sunil Ambwani, J.
Heard Sri Rakesh Pandey for petitioner. No one appears for respondents. On 18.3.2004, the Court had clarified that no further adjournment shall be granted to the respondents. The matter was, as such, heard in the absence of counsel for the respondents.
The petitioner has prayed for quashing the order dated 26.5.1990 proposing to award a punishment to dismiss the petitioner from service, under clause 19.6(a) of the Bi-partite settlement, by the Disciplinary Authority/Regional Manager, Shahjehanpur, U.P.; and an order dated 18.8.1990 passed by the same authority imposing the punishment of dismissal without notice. An appeal lies against the order, but since the matter is pending for the last 14 years, the Court accepted the request of the counsel for the petitioner to decide the matter finally without relegating the petitioner to the alternative remedy.
The petitioner Shyam Bahadur (E.C. 14568), was posted as subordinate staff (Daftari) in Bank of Barod at Shahjehanpur. A charge sheet dated 14.1.1985 and an addemdum dated 16.1.1985 was given to him by the disciplinary authority alleging that the petitioner had misappropriated the amounts received from customers of the Bank depositing in their accounts; made false and unauthorised entries in the pass-book of the parties with a view to cheat them, and the Bank stealing blank leaves fixed deposit receipts and wrongfully issued them with a view to cheat the customers and the bank; and made fraudulent withdrawals from the accounts of parties. The petitioner was charged with committing fraud, misuse of bank property, acting beyond the scope of his authority, misuse of his position as bank employee, to commit acts to the interest of the bank, resulting in wrongful gain to himself and wrongful loss to the bank.
The Inquiry Officer gave opportunity to the petitioner to defend himself. He found the charges to be established. The petitioner was given
the required documents in support of the charges and was permitted to cross-examine the witnesses produced by the presenting officer. The Inquiry Officer found that Mrs. Shanti Gupta came in person in the branch on 15.3.1984 and lodged a complaint with the Manager, that she had given Rs. 400/- on 2.7.1983 to the petitioner who did everything and returned the pass book with an entry of Rs,. 400/-. Later on she found that only Rs. 100/- was deposited in her account on that day. . She reminded the branch with her complaint by a letter dated 30.3.1984. It was found that the petitioner had filled in the pay-in-slip for Rs. 100/- and returned the pass book to Smt. Shanti Gupta with a deposit entry of Rs. 400/-. The entry was corrected on 15.3.1984, by Mr. H.O. Sharma and it was only after the entries were corrected on 15.3.1984, the misappropriation was noticed. Sri J.N. Pandey, officer of the bank produced the documents and established the fact. In respect of second charge, the Inquiry Officer found that Smt. Ram Beti gave Rs. 500/- to the petitioner on 22.8.1983 to open a Savings Bank Account and again gave him Rs. 250/- on 21.10.1983 to deposit in her account. A pass book bearing no. 4720 in the name of Smt. Ram Beti and Bindu was handed over to her by the petitioner. When she came to withdraw Rs. 50/- on 12.4.1984, she came to know that no such account was opened and the pass book is fictitious. The document namely the account number of Sri Arun Kumar Tyagi, the withdrawal form and fictitious pass book were proved by Sri V.K. Misra the then Manager of the bank in the enquiry. He was produced as witness in the disciplinary enquiry.
The third charge relates to the deposition of Sri Arjun Lal through the petitioner. He had deposited a total amount Rs. 2300/- and withdrew Rs. 1640/- which was recorded in the ledger as a credit entry of only of Rs. 350/- by Mr. Arjun Lal himself. He produced two pass books. The other pass book differed with the ledger account. Mr. Arjun Lal, gave his statement in writing to Sri V.K. Misra and on the second occasion to Sri J.N. Pandey and Mr. S.C. Ahuja complaining complicity of the petitioner. All the three officers were produced as witnesses, and deposed proving the charge. .
The fourth charge was in respect of the complaint of Smt. Ram Sri Devi. She withdrew Rs. 11500/- and wanted to place an amount of Rs.
3000/- in FDR with the bank the Petitioner gave her an FDR of Rs.3000/- on 1.6.1983. On an enquiry it was found that there was no debit entry of Rs. 11500/- in the account of Smt. Ram Sri Devi, and instead she had a balance of Rs. 1700/- in her account on 4.6.1984. The F.D.R. given by the petitioner to Smt. Ram Sri Devi was found to be forged.
The Inquiry Officer found that one leaf of FDR Book 1701-1800 was found missing. Smt. Ram Sri Devi appeared as witness. She deposed that she had not made any complaint against the petitioner and that her signatures were obtained on some papers. She also denied that she was not issued the FDR. The Inquiry Officer, however, did not believe her as she had given a complaint in person to the manager Sri S.C. Ahuja and thereafter to Sri J.N. Pandey. In cross-examination she told that at one time she had withdrawn Rs. 11000/- which corroborated her complaint.
The next charge related to S.B. Account of Smt. Mohini Devi who opened her account on 28.7.1982 with Rs. 250/- on the introduction given by the petitioner. She gave a sum of Rs. 250/- to the petitioner, which was not deposited. She further gave Rs. 500/- through one Sri Ved Prakash and desired to have FDR of Rs. 1000/- which the petitioner gave her after several months and was found to be forged. Smt. Mohini Devi deposed that she did not make any complaint against the petitioner and did not ask him to invest the amount in the FDR . The Inquiry Officer disbelieved her statement as she had made a complaint in person to the Manager and that a false FDR was found in existence and on enquiry she could not explain as to how some other person had prepared FDR in her favour. The most serious charge related to the theft of FDRs. The Inquiry Officer recorded a finding that the petitioner admitted before the Manager of the Bank at his residence to have stolen the FDR book which was found in the stationary room behind a cupboard. . Mr. V.K. Misra was produced as prosecution witness. The Inquiry Officer concluded that all the charges including the last charge . Taking B.P. of Rs. 800/- from his provident fund account was established whereas his balance of that date was only Rs. 22.87.
Sri Rakesh Pandey, counsel for the petitioner submits that the Disciplinary Authority did not issue any show cause notice after accepting findings of the inquiry Officer. The findings were recorded
without any evidence in support of the charges and without affording any opportunity to the petitioner. The Disciplinary Authority was biased. The complainant namely Smt. Shanti Gupta did not appear to prove her complaint and that Smt. Ram Beti and Smt. Mohini Devi deposed in favour of the petitioner, and denied that they had made any complaint against the petitioner.
In the matter of disciplinary enquiry, the scope of judicial review with regard to the assessment of evidence is very limited. It is only when the Inquiry Officer violate the principle of natural justice or any mandatory provisions of law, the judicial review is permissible. The Court has to be slow in scrutinizing the appreciation of evidence by the Inquiry Officer, unless the intervention is absolutely necessary, on the ground that there was no material or that there was any perversity in the findings. The strict Rules of evidence do not apply to disciplinary enquiries. Both the Inquiry Officer and the Disciplinary Authority can take into consideration such facts, circumstances and material which may establish the charges against the petitioner. The standard of proof necessary in criminal trial is not required, and the technical rules of evidence of proof beyond doubt cannot be insisted upon. In disciplinary enquiry the conclusions are drawn in a reasonable manner on the preponderance of probabilities, from the evidence on record and material which is sufficient for establishing the charges. Even if there are some discrepancies in evidence, the court cannot interfere with the findings recorded by the Inquiry Officer and accepted by Disciplinary Authority.
In High Court of Judicature at Bombay Vs. Udai Singh, AIR, 1997 SC 2286 and in the High Court of Judicature Vs. Shirish Kumar Rang Rao Patil, AIR 1997 SC 2631, the Supreme Court held that the sufficiency of evidence and the correctness of evidence are not to be examined by the Court, though it may possible to arrive at a different conclusion.
In the present case, I find that the charges were very serious in nature. The petitioner was a subordinate staff and was not authorized to directly deal with the customers and to deposit the amounts in their account. He not only accepted the amount but also delivered pass book with fictitious entries. He was found to have delivered drafts which were
stolen from the bank to the customers. The petitioner was given full and adequate opportunity to defend himself and to cross examine the officers of the bank. After going through the findings, I find that the Inquiry Officer has applied his mind and that his findings are based on relevant material, documents and depositions available on record.
After accepting the findings of the Inquiry officer, the Disciplinary Authority had given an opportunity to the petitioner to reply to the findings and after receiving his reply, the impugned was passed dismissing the petitioner from service. The Disciplinary Authority satisfied himself with the fact that the petitioner was given adequate opportunity to defend himself and that the charges were established. I also find that the punishment is not disproportionate to the charges.
The writ petition is consequently dismissed, with no order as to costs.
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