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Pinaki Bose v. The Presiding Officer, C.G.Ind. Tribunal-Cum-Labour, & Ors. - WRIT - C No. 13362 of 1997 [2006] RD-AH 1872 (24 January 2006)


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Court no. 31

Civil Misc. Writ Petition no. 13362 of 1997

Pinaki Bose vs. The Presiding Officer and ors.


Hon'ble Bharati Sapru, J.

List is revised. Learned counsel for the petitioner Sri P.C. Jhingan is present to argue the case and learned counsel for the respondent bank is however not present.

I have heard Sri P.C. Jhingan learned counsel for the petitioner and have perused the record.

Learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that at the time when the first enquiry report was made, the punishment should have been given to the delinquent workman who had admitted his guilt. He argued that the second enquiry was wrongly set up de novo and therefore the entire proceedings subsequent to that are bad and the award of the Labour Court is also bad.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner workman was a banking clerk who was caught making interpolation in the account books. During the course of first enquiry, he admitted his guilt. The so-called second enquiry was initiated at his instance because he prayed that he should be awarded punishment under clause 19.12 (E) of the bipartite settlement dated 19.10.1966. The petitioner workman participated in the so-called second enquiry fully and it cannot be said that he was denied any opportunity to defend himself. The result of the second enquiry was also that misconduct and charges against the petitioner workman stood fully proved.

Labour Court in its award dated 21.10.1996 passed in adjudication case no. 203 of 1991 also examined the entire matter and came to the conclusion that workman was indeed guilty of doing interpolation in banks records in respect of his own account and also guilty of embezzlement of money of customers which were certainly acts of gross misconduct. It is also admitted to the petitioner workman that he accepted his guilt before the enquiry officer at the very first instance.

Such being the case, the Labour Court has rightly come to the conclusion that nothing short of dismissal would be accepted as punishment.

Labour Court accordingly passed an award that workman was not entitled any relief.

It is abundantly clear from the record of the case that the petitioner workman was indeed guilty of interpolating the records of his own account and embezzling money from the accounts of customers of the bank. Whatever the reasons, which might have been, which compelled him to indulge in the act of misconduct, the bank on its part gave full and fair opportunity to the petitioner workman to defend his case in the enquiry. It cannot be said that in any of the proceedings held against the petitioner workman were conducted against the norms of principles of natural justice.

Learned counsel for the petitioner has raised a technical plea about first and second enquiry, which to my mind is not to be taken note of in the facts and circumstances of the case where misconduct of the petitioner workman is a writ large.

The apex court, in the case of U.P.S.R.T.C. vs. Mohan Lal Gupta, as reported in 2001 ALJ SC 1443, has held that the case of misconduct, committed by a person holding post of responsibility, cannot be condoned and the only punishment that can be given is that of dismissal. The same view has been reiterated in the case of S.K.  Sahani vs. General Manager, Union Bank of India and ors., reported in FLR 1998 (80) 277 Alld.

In the recent judgment in the case of Karnataka Bank Ltd., vs. A.L. Mohan Rao, reported in 2006 (1) SCC 63, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that it would be misplaced sympathy to order reinstatement where the misconduct stood proved.

In view of the above, I see no reason to interfere in the award of the Labour Court, which has been passed after giving complete opportunity to the petitioner workman to put up his case. The award of the Labour Court is liable to be confirmed.

The writ petition is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.

Dated 24.1.2006



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